Physics Bachelor of Science
Department of Physics
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OVERVIEW OF MAJOR
Are you interested in the description and explanation of natural phenomena? Are you good in mathematics and hope to put it to a practical use? Would you like to help unlock secrets to life and existence? Do the what, when, how, and why of heat, light, sound, gravity windstorms, volcanoes and energy intrigue you? Would you like to design devices to aid communications, medicine, aerospace, resource conservation or environmental preservation? Do radioactive elements and particle physics fascinate you as matter is transformed to energy and energy to matter? If your response to any of these questions is “yes,” then you should consider a major in Physics.

Physics is the study of the structure and interaction of matter and energy. Physics has practical application to a wide variety of tasks such as predicting floods and earthquakes, developing energy sources, conserving water and soil, controlling smog, positioning communications satellites and developing body-scanning devices. Physicists date fossils by using techniques to measure the radioactive decay of atoms. Physicists detect the existence of subatomic particles, measure the distances among stars and galaxies, and speculate on the origin and destiny of the universe.

The Physics major begins with an emphasis on fundamentals in the basic sciences and mathematics to provide students with a broad foundation. Subsequent coursework is designed to develop analytical and experimental abilities that allow students to solve problems involving the technical applications of physics. A strong liberal arts program rounds out the major and provides educational breadth. Two concentrations are possible: Applied Physics and Physics.

Applied Physics combines fundamental coursework in physics with a selection of courses in a related disciplinary field. Four options are available. The electronics, semiconductors, and optics option is designed for students interested in rapidly changing technology or in areas that overlap the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines. The computers option focuses on the application of modern computer technology to problems in physics. The chemical physics option combines thorough knowledge of both chemistry and physics, which is useful in such interdisciplinary areas as materials science, surface science, and studies of molecular systems. The medical physics option prepares students for further study in health physics: a field increasingly in demand as more theoretical advances are applied to medical research and practice. Students who pursue teacher licensure must complete the endorsement requirements for teaching in physics.

The Physics concentration provides a broad background in science, which serves as a base for later specialization, either in graduate school or on the job. Students with a physics degree have the education necessary for a career in industry, government, or for advanced study at the graduate level.

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CHARACTERISTICS AND SKILLS
* Strong aptitude for science and mathematics
* Strong interest in physics
* Curious/innovative
* Logical and critical thinking ability
* Patience and perseverance
* Enjoys reading
* Keen power of observation
* Mechanical and electronic, and computer skills
* Good writing and oral communications skills
* Ability to work independently or in a team
* Enjoys experimentation and gathering and searching for patterns in data

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POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS
Physicists find employment in industries such as electronics, computers, medical technology, engineering-related fields, quality control, and sales. Others teach high school physics. Physics graduates’ excellent math skills are useful in business and finance as well. Those pursuing graduate degrees can work in college teaching and in research for industry, government, and education. Participation in internships, volunteer activities, or cooperative education opportunities is highly recommended to enhance your practical training and development. Graduates who go on for advanced studies can attain more responsible positions with the possibility of rising to top professional levels. Career occupations include but are not limited to:
* Research physicist
* Hydrologist
* Health physicist
* Nuclear medical technologist
* Pollution control technician
* Environmental health technician
* Air pollution analyst
* Laser technician
* High school physics/computer science teacher
* Photogammetrist
* Medical and scientific illustrator
* Crime laboratory analyst
* Patent examiner
* Calibration laboratory technician
* Quality control technician
* Spectroscopist
* Photo-optics technician
* Data processing systems analyst
* Motors and controls tester
* Architectural and engineering supplies sales representative
* Electronics/communications equipment representative
* Precision instruments sales representative
* Technical writer

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RELATED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
* Society of Physics Students
* Association for Computing Machinery
* Society of Women Engineers
* Society of Black Engineers and Scientists
* Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
* Natural Sciences College Council

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MORE INFORMATION
Department of Physics
AR124 Engineering
1875 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1875
970-491-6206
http://www.physics.colostate.edu
* Academic and career advising for majors


Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA)
TILT Building
801 Oval Drive
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1033
970-491-7095
http://www.casa.colostate.edu
* Academic advising/Major exploration


Career Center
120 Lory Student Center
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-5707
http://www.career.colostate.edu
* Major and career exploration/Job search information


Visit the American Institute of Physics web page at
http://www.aip.org/career-resources
* Major and career exploration/Job search information


Admissions and Undergraduate Recruitment
Ammons Hall
711 Oval Drive
8008 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
970-491-6909
http://www.admissions.colostate.edu
* Admission applications/University visits and tours


General Catalog Online
http://www.catalog.colostate.edu/

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