The Bachelor of Science physics degree is designed for individuals planning careers in physics and related technical fields or in areas where knowledge of basic scientific principles is necessary. This program will prepare students who plan to pursue an advanced degree (MS or PhD) in a physics-related field. Depending on the level of math preparation, a student should be able to complete the Bachelor of Science degree in four years at CWU.
The Bachelor of Arts physics degree is for students who desire a broad, possibly interdisciplinary, education with an emphasis in physics. It is a suitable foundation for a variety of professional careers including teaching, business, law, and medicine. This is also an option for students pursuing a major in another discipline, such as chemistry, computer science, engineering technology, and mathematics.
For students interested in pursuing graduate studies or careers in astronomy, the astronomy minor is an excellent complement to either baccalaureate degree.
The Department offers a dual degree program that enables students to receive a Baccalaureate degree in physics from CWU and a Bachelor of Science from an appropriate engineering institution in a respective engineering discipline. The total length of time for both degrees is expected to be about five years, with approximately three years at Central Washington University (dating from enrollment in MATH 172) and approximately two years at the engineering institution. At CWU, students must complete a minimum of 135 credits, including all General Education requirements. Additional courses may be required depending on the specific engineering discipline - be sure to consult the Physics Department Chair for details.
When you are near the end of your engineering program, but by January 1 of the year you wish to graduate from CWU, complete the following steps.
Biophysics is the application of the principles and tools of physics to the study of biological systems. Biophysicists contribute to the understanding of a wide range of interdisciplinary scientific subfields including biotechnology, quantitative molecular and cellular biology, medical physics, neuroscience and biomechanics. The goal of the Physics B.S. with Biophysics specialization is to prepare graduates to be competitive in applications for entry into graduate degree programs in biophysics, physics, and related fields; jobs in government research labs; and private sector employment in areas such as biotechnology. Depending on math preparation, students should be able to complete the Bachelor of Science degree, with Biophysics specialization, in four years at CWU.
Regardless of the degree plan chosen, the physics department emphasizes the following student learning objectives:
All physics students, regardless of the degree plan chosen, are required to maintain a portfolio of their work and accomplishments in physics. This portfolio provides documentation, supplements the transcript, that the student has attained each of the above learning objectives.
All physics majors (Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, or Dual Degree) are required to conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. At CWU, we believe that the undergraduate research experience is an invaluable component of a scientific education. Through research, students have an opportunity to apply the content knowledge and laboratory skills learned in structured courses, as well as develop critical thinking, judgment, and library skills needed to solve open-ended research questions.
Descriptions of current and past research projects carried out by CWU physics students can be found at the Physics Research page.
Many sources of financial support are available for students conducting research at CWU. For more information, please visit the Student Resources page.
Many upper division courses are offered every other year, so it is important for students to be aware of the current schedule of course offerings when planning their own schedules. A list of all courses offered between fall 2015 and summer 2019 is available here in pdf format.
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