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Programs of Study

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides a multidimensional framework to support a variety of professional goals and interests of students. The curriculum available within the departmental program affords preparation for careers as physicists in governmental and industrial laboratories, for teaching in public schools or junior colleges, for entering advanced programs at the graduate level, or as a basis for studies leading to careers in engineering or other professional fields.

Fundamental to the program are scientific facilities and faculty providing opportunities for practicing scientific inquiry, which is the basis for understanding the operation of the physical universe, from the smallest to the largest components.

Physics and Astronomy undergraduate majors and minors should see the Student Planning Manual to determine which courses to take for specific tracks, and to plan a four-year curriculum.

Major in Physics

The Physics Major (reference number 754) can, by proper choice of electives, prepare for graduate work in physics, astronomy, biophysics, environmental science, or professional schools such as medicine or law. The student may also choose to work in industry, public service, or teaching. Students can structure the curriculum within the Bachelor of Science in Physics program electing those courses which will satisfy the demands of his or her chosen profession using the following career-oriented tracks:

  • General Physics Track is designed for those students who wish to pursue careers as physicists or are preparing for graduate study in physics.
  • Applied Physics Track combines extensive technical knowledge, related problem-solving skills, and computer techniques to prepare students for positions in industry and governmental laboratories.
  • Physics and Astronomy Track prepares students for careers in astronomy / space science and for graduate study in these areas.
  • Teacher Certification Track prepares students for careers teaching physics at the secondary school level.
  • 3/2 Dual-Degree (Physics / Applied Sciences / Engineering) option requires three years of study at WKU and two years at a science / engineering school, leading to two degrees, one in physics and astronomy at WKU and one in engineering or applied science.

Major in Middle School Science

The Middle School Science Education Major (MSSE, reference number 734) is for students who plan to teach science in grades 5 through 9. The MSSE Major requires completion of the science and mathematics education (SMED) program also. Upon successful completion of both majors, the student will earn a Bachelor of Science degree and will qualify for a Kentucky Provisional Certificate for teaching in the middle grades (5-9) science field.

Minor in Physics

The Minor in Physics (reference number 435) requires a minimum of 23 semester hours.

Minor in Biophysics

The Minor in Biophysics (reference number 329) requires a minimum of 18 semester hours. This course sequence is intended to serve students of the life sciences (biology, pre-medicine and pre-dental, agriculture, environmental health, psychology, science teaching, environmental engineering, pre-veterinary, pre-pharmacy and pre-optometry. In general, this curriculum treats the physics of life processes and various applications of physics to biology and medicine.

Minor in Astronomy

The Minor in Astronomy (reference number 318) requires a minimum of 20 semester hours and is designed to provide a background in astronomy, astrophysics, and planetray science for students from a wide range of backgrounds.

Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Homeland Security Sciences

(reference number 0413)

Master of Arts in Education, Physics Minor

(reference number 024)

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 Last Modified 10/23/15