Physics Program Descriptions | Physics | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

Program Descriptions

Physics BS Program


The undergraduate major in physics leading to the Bachelor of Science degree provides for a mastery of basic principles and methods of classical and modern physics and prepares the student for a wide variety of career opportunities. The SIUC physics department offers a BS degree in general physics or the option to specialize in Computational Physics, Materials Science / Nanophysics, or Biomedical Physics. A degree in physics can lead to a challenging and interesting career. Physics as a profession has always been at the center of exciting discoveries, and much of modern science is originally based on the research done by physicists.

The Physics Department at SIUC offers a first-rate undergraduate program in physics. Individual attention is provided to physics majors. We offer laboratory courses in advanced lab methods, modern physics, lasers, and modern optics. Most importantly, the Department of Physics is research-oriented with all of its faculty active in research. Participation by advanced undergraduates in the research program of a faculty member is encouraged and can be very useful to students, providing them with technical skills not available through formal coursework and giving them a taste of real physics. Our undergraduates can participate in experimental projects in such areas as low-temperature physics, surface physics, applied physics, material physics, fluid physics, super-conductivity, magnetism, synchrotron radiation, infrared spectroscopy, and electron paramagnetic resonance. For those students who have an interest in theoretical physic, research projects are available in high-interest areas such as quantum physics, solid state physics, atomic and molecular physics, computational physics, statistical mechanics and nuclear physics.

Employment opportunities in physics are varied and abundant, from industrial research and development to teaching. Physicists are employed in all sectors of society, including corporations, government research agencies and universities. Physicists are presently enjoying unusual opportunities in the development of new concepts that are expected to have far-reaching consequences in the high technology of the future. Totally new applications are arising from understanding basic physics principles. Some of these emerging technologies include laser communications, holography, synchrotron radiation light sources, opto-electronics, high temperature superconductors and physic applications in medicine. At a time when technological developments and discoveries are creating a heavy demand for physicists, projections indicate the possibility of a critical shortage of trained physicists. Students considering a major in physics are urged to consult with the undergraduate advisor of the physics department or with the department chair.  See About SIU Physics for contact information.