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    Kansas State University
  Aug 22, 2017
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2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog


Brett DePaola, Interim Head
Michael O’Shea, Associate Head

University Distinguished Professors: Ben-Itzhak, Esry, Lin, and Ratra; Cortelyou-Rust University Distinguished Professor: Sorensen; Ernest and Lillian Chapin Professor: Corwin and Esry; Professors: Bolton, Chakrabarti, DePaola, Law, O’Shea, Thumm, Weaver, and Wysin; Associate Professors: Berg, Flanders, Horton-Smith, Ivanov, Kumarappan, Maravin, Sayre, Schmit, Trallero, and Washburn; Assistant Professors: Kaadze, Laverty, Rolles, Rudenko, and Samushia; Research Professor: Carnes; Research Associate Professor: Le; Research Assistant Professor: Fehrenbach; Adjunct Professors: Lee, Lundeen, and Zouros; Adjunct Professor Emeritus: Spangler; Emeritus Professors: Folland, Gray, Hagmann, Manney, and Stanton; University Distinguished Professor Emeritus: Cocke, Reay, Richard, and Zollman; University Distinguished Professor Emerita: Rahman.

116 Cardwell Hall
Fax: 785-532-6806

Physics is the most fundamental of all sciences. It is the science of matter, energy and the interactions between them. Many of the problems that will need to be solved in the coming decades will occur on the interface between physics and related areas. Understanding and utilizing new energy technologies , developing new materials for the next generation of computers and improving methods of medical imaging–all of these and more will require a thorough knowledge of physics. Across the nation over the past decade, roughly 95 percent of graduates with bachelor’s degrees in physics found employment or enrolled in graduate school immediately following graduation.

A career in physics is rewarding and satisfying for people who enjoy solving problems by looking at the underlying basic principles. Physicists are trained to formulate their understanding of a problem or phenomenon in precise terms and to communicate these ideas to others. These skills are becoming especially valuable today as our nation and world depend more on science and technology. After graduation, many students with a keen interest in research join graduate programs in physics. These typically provide a stipend and tuition waiver. This career path eventually leads to conducting basic research in industrial, university and national laboratories. 

Students that choose not to attend physics graduate school can also be well poised to enter complementary fields.  Many physics majors take additional courses in areas such as math, computer science, chemistry or engineering – perhaps even completing a minor or additional degree.  They enter jobs or graduate programs in these fields after graduating.  Physics majors may also obtain their secondary physics teaching license during their time at K-State.

We also encourage students with diverse interests to add on qualifications that can help transition that interest into a career. A minor or double major in entrepreneurship may be of interest to a student who plans to enter management positions or pursue their own business enterprises. Physics also partners with the prelaw program to prepare students who wish to eventually practice intellectual property law. Students can also pursue interdisciplinary plans that encourage careers in science journalism or technical writing. 

We offer three different physics bachelor’s degrees. The Bachelor of Science in physics is the best preparation for advanced degrees in physics, but the Bachelor of Science in general physics and the Bachelor of Arts in physics offer a broad foundation in physics while requiring fewer physics courses, leaving room for other areas. These programs of study have been designed to provide a firm basic foundation in physics and mathematics. The program includes formal lecture courses, interactive and engaging studio courses that integrate laboratory demonstrations and problem solving, computer-based learning labs, and regular seminars on our research projects. A minor requiring 17-19 credit hours is also available. 

Undergraduate research

All students with a major or minor in physics can and should participate in the research activities of the department. The involvement in research is arranged on an individual basis and may begin as early as the first semester. Students who participate in research may receive either credit or a stipend. Research areas available to undergraduates are atomic,molecular, and optical physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, high energy physics, and physics education.



Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science