Content | Navigation |

Academic Majors

 


Physics

Physics is the most fundamental and exact of the physical sciences. Its laws are basic to deep understanding in all of technology, and in many fields of learning, such as astronomy, chemistry, engineering, photonics, biology, medicine, geology, environmental science and oceanography.

PDF Download

Background Information

The Department of Physics offers a wide range of curricula that prepare students for industrial, governmental, academic or graduate work in these fields. The physics education program prepares students for teaching in secondary schools. Graduate program activities, such as research projects and colloquia, offer undergraduate students many opportunities for learning experiences outside the classroom. Finally, the Tri-College University physics program offers a variety of courses in basic and applied physics usually found only at very large universities. This program involves neighboring Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

High School Preparation

A prospective physics major is generally expected to have taken chemistry, physics and mathematics courses in high school. Courses in computer programming also are quite helpful. Deficiencies in any of these subjects, however, may be remedied in the freshman or later years at the University.

Curriculum Options

The Department of Physics offers a major in physics with an option in optical science and engineering. Double major programs in physics and mathematics and physics and computer science also are available.

Physics majors take basic courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and modern physics, as well as specialized courses, such as optics, photonics, and condensed-matter physics. A physics major prepares students for graduate work in physics and eventual employment as college teachers or as research physicists in government or industry. Physics students are in demand at many institutions for graduate studies in condensed-matter physics, chemical physics, biophysics, mathematical physics, engineering, environmental science, meteorology, medicine, nuclear studies, oceanography and radiological physics.

The optical science and engineering option includes an interdisciplinary optics/photonics sequence of courses taught by the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering using a state-of-the-art optics teaching laboratory. This is the only regional program of this type. Optics and lasers are enabling technologies and are applied in most high tech experiments, communications, devices, medical diagnostics and media. There are more than 5,000 optics-related companies in the United States alone, but even more important, photonics provides the technical foundation for many more. Optical science and engineering has exploded to encompass nearly all fields of science and technology with a consequent shortage of individuals trained in the field. The optical science and engineering option will enhance any job search.

Career Opportunities

A great variety of employment opportunities exist for physics majors who wish to pursue careers after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Some find positions in industry or government. Many technical industries seek physics graduates for work in software development, engineering, science and lab technician positions, management and sales. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers of starting salaries offered by campus recruiters shows that students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physics can make up to $64,000 per year when starting right out of school. More commonly, the survey found that physics graduates can expect a starting salary between $46,000 and $58,000.

An education in physics is so fundamental that it provides an excellent preparation for graduate education in nearly every technical field, including engineering. Additionally, North Dakota State University graduates in physics have entered medical schools and have studied law. One past graduate received a doctorate in biophysics and now works at the University of Minnesota Medical School; another is at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Some of our recent graduates worked on advanced degrees in biomedical engineering, chemical physics, electrical engineering, solid-state physics, meteorology and radiological science. A number of recent graduates have pursued graduate studies at schools such as Cornell University, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois at Chicago and State University of New York Stony Brook. A 2004 physics doctoral graduate is now an associate professor at the State University of New York Canton.

As technology continues to develop, there will be a need for skilled people to make new discoveries in the basic sciences. Because of this, talented physics majors are encouraged to pursue the doctoral degree. Outstanding doctoral graduates in physics find research and teaching positions in universities or employment in government laboratories and research-oriented industries.

If you have a technical career objective, examine it closely. You will find that a major in physics, with one of the options at NDSU, will give you the preparation you need to achieve your goals.

Financial Aid

Financial aid at NDSU is available in the form of loans, grants, scholarships and work-study. Students who qualify for federal college work-study may be paid for work on department research projects. Highly qualified students may be hired as undergraduate research assistants at the campus Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Internships

The Cooperative Education Program provides students the opportunity to earn money and gain valuable experience by spending one or more semesters working in industrial or government laboratories.

Sample Curriculum

General Education Requirements

Credits

_____________________________________________________

First Year Experience

  Univ. 189 - Skills for Academic Success

1

Communication

  Comm. 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking

3

  Engl. 110, 120 - College Composition I, II

3, 3

  English Upper Level Writing Course

3

Quantitative Reasoning

  Math. 165 - Calculus I

4

Science & Technology

  Phys. 251, 251L - University Physics I and Lab

4, 1

  Phys. 252, 252L - University Physics II and Lab

4, 1

Humanities & Fine Arts

6

Social and Behavioral Sciences

6

Wellness

2

Cultural Diversity

-

Global Perspective

-

Total

40

College and Department Requirements

Credits

_____________________________________________________

Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.S. Degree)

6

Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.A. Degree)

12

Second Year Language Proficiency (B.A. Degree)

-

Total

6-12

Major Requirements

Credits

_____________________________________________________

CSci. 160 - Computer Science I or
  ECE 173 - Introduction to Computing


4 or 3

Math. 129 - Basic Linear Algebra

2

Math. 166 - Calculus II

4

Math. 265 - Calculus III

4

Math. 266 - Introduction to Differential Equations

3

Phys. 171 - Introductory Projects in Physics

1

Phys. 251R - University Physics I Recitation

1

Phys. 252R - University Physics II Recitation

1

Phys. 330 (MSUM) - Intermediate Mechanics or
  Phys. 455 - Classical Mechanics


4 or 3

Phys. 350 - Modern Physics I

3

Phys. 360 - Modern Physics II

3

Phys. 361 - Electromagnetic Theory or Phys. 370
  (MSUM) - Electromagnetic Theory


3 or 4

Phys. 370 - Introduction to Computational Physics

3

Phys. 411, 411L - Optics for Science and Engineering
  and Lab

3, 1

Phys. 462 - Heat and Thermodynamics

3

Phys. 485 -Quantum Mechanics I

3

Phys. 486 -Quantum Mechanics II

3

Phys. 489 -Senior Project

3

400 Level Math Electives

6

General Chemistry Sequence with Labs

8

Total

64-67

General Physics Option

Credits

_____________________________________________________

CSci. 161 - Computer Science II

4

Option Electives

0-1

Physics Electives

6

Total

10-11

CURRICULUM TOTAL

122

MSUM=Minnesota State University Moorhead

This sample curriculum is not intended to serve as a curriculum guide for current students, but rather an example of course offerings for prospective students. For the curriculum requirements in effect at the time of entrance into a program, consult with an academic adviser or with the Office of Registration and Records.

South Engineering
Room 218


South Engineering is located on Albrecht Boulevard, just south of the Memorial Union (Campus Map)

Contact Information

Department of Physics
North Dakota State University
South Engineering 218
Dept 2755, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-8974 / Fax: (701) 231-7088
Web: www.ndsu.edu/physics/

Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Ceres 114
Dept 5230, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Tel: (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802
Email: NDSU.Admission@ndsu.edu
Web: www.ndsu.edu/admission/


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8643 / Fax: (701) 231-8802
Campus address: Ceres Hall 114
Physical/delivery address: 1301 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5230 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU WebMaster

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 3:40:36 PM