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.
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.
The Department of Physics offers a major in physics with options in computational physics and in optical science and engineering. A double major in physics and mathematics also is 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 computational physics option involves a higher concentration of computer-related courses that prepare students for careers in both basic research and industry. This option responds to a growing demand for scientists with expertise in the application of computers to address physical problems.
The optical science and engineering option includes an interdisciplinary optics/photonics sequence of courses taught by the Departments of Physics and 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 on your transcript will enhance any job search.
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, NDSU 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 SUNY 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 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.
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.
General Education RequirementsCredits
|First Year Experience |
|Univ. 189 - Skills for Academic Success
| Comm. 110 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking
|Engl. 110, 120 - College Composition I, II
|| 3, 3
|English Upper Level Writing Course
|Math. 165 - Calculus I
|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
|Social and Behavioral Sciences
|| 2 |
| Cultural Diversity
|| - |
College and Department RequirementsCredits
|Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.S. Degree)
|| 6 |
|Hum/Soc. Science Electives (B.A. Degree)
|| 12 |
|Second Year Language Proficiency
|| - |
|Math. 166 - Calculus II
|Math. 265 - Calculus III
|Math. 266 - Introduction to Differential Equations
|Phys. 251R - University Physics I Recitation
|Phys. 252R - University Physics II Recitation
|Phys. 330 (MSUM) - Intermediate Mechanics or
Phys. 455 - Classical Mechanics
| 4 or 3|
|Phys. 350 - Modern Physics I
|Phys. 360 - Modern Physics II
|Phys. 361 - Electromagnetic Theory or
Phys. 370 (MSUM) - Electromagnetic Theory
|| 3 or4|
|Phys. 370 - Introduction to Computational Physics
|Phys. 411, 411L - Optics for Science and
Engineering and Lab
|Phys. 462 - Heat and Thermodynamics
|Phys. 485 -Quantum Mechanics I
|Phys. 486 -Quantum Mechanics II
|Phys. 489 -Senior Project
|400 Level Math Electives
|General Chemistry Sequence with Labs
General Physics OptionCredits
|Computer Science Electives
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.
Department of Physics
North Dakota State University
South Engineering 218
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: (701) 231-8974
Fax: (701) 231-7088
Office of Admission
North Dakota State University
Dept 5230, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: (701) 231-8643
Fax: (701) 231-8802