Department of Physics

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science

Luke Keller, Associate Professor and Chair

The Department of Physics offers a range of programs and courses designed to prepare students for a variety of career opportunities. With the supporting background of mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and biology, the curriculum provides the educational foundation necessary for continued study at the graduate level, technical employment, or certification in secondary school teaching of physics.

The department offers a physics-engineering 3-2 program and has programs leading to the bachelor of science degree in physics and the bachelor of arts in physics and mathematics-physics.

Physics-Engineering 3-2 Program

In collaboration with Cornell University, Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology of Binghamton University, as well as other accredited engineering schools, the physics department offers qualified students the opportunity to receive two bachelor’s degrees, one from Ithaca College and one from the appropriate school of engineering, over the course of five years. Physics majors who are interested in this program complete all the requirements for the physics B.A. (see below) in three years, and apply to transfer to the appropriate engineering school for two more years to complete an engineering degree.

Students who wish to enter this joint program must take, in addition to the physics program requirements, certain basic courses stipulated by the engineering department of their choice. Very careful planning is necessary to ensure the proper program articulation, and students must therefore obtain the approval of the department chairperson no later than the end of the fifth semester. This program requires the student to take an academic leave of absence for the senior year and to obtain the provost’s waiver of the senior credit requirement. Transfer will be subject to both the department’s recommendation and acceptance by the engineering school. Students will transfer 30 credits from the engineering school toward the Ithaca College degree.

To graduate from the program, a student must fulfill the degree requirements of the engineering school. In the event a student does not complete the engineering school portion of the program, an Ithaca College degree in physics can be awarded if all the requirements for a department-approved physics program have been met. Courses taken at the engineering school can be used toward fulfillment of the requirement upon approval of the department.

Requirements for Honors in Physics

Students are awarded honors in physics on the basis of excellence in the three areas of academics, scholarly achievement, and service to the community. To apply for honors recognition, a student must submit an application to the Physics Department Chair before November 1 of their year of graduation. The application will consist of a current resume and a 2-page statement addressing the following issues:

The application must show that the student has maintained a 3.50 GPA in courses required for the physics major (inclusive of midterm grades in the semester in which the application is submitted), has actively engaged in and contributed to original scholarly work which extended the bounds of human knowledge of physics or a related field, and has contributed physics-related service to the school, college, or wider community. This service component might consist of activities such as (but not limited to) physics outreach presentations, peer mentoring and tutoring, student leadership, and any other relevant participation in projects serving the public interest.

The final decision to award honors is made by a vote of the general physics faculty.

Off-Campus Study in Oceanography

Students can participate in our cooperative programs with the Duke University Marine Lab (North Carolina and Bermuda) or the Sea Education Association of Wood’s Hole (with a variety of cruise tracks). For more information on these programs, see “National Affiliated Programs in Marine Biology” in the “International Programs” section.

See PHYS courses


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