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Physics

College of the Sciences

Undergraduate Research Tracks

 

Determining your Research Track:

Students at CWU can fulfill the research requirement through several tracks that culminate in a final 2 credits of PHYS 495. The different tracks are designed to offer flexibility. When choosing a track, students should consider their career goals, science interests, academic schedules, and the technical skills they would like to learn or strengthen. Students are encouraged to discuss their options with their physics advisor.

 

 

Tracks:

 

Independent Research Project Track: 

Students will take at least 4 credits of PHYS 495 during the academic year and complete an independent research project or independent study of a physics subject not covered in the CWU physics curriculum.  Research projects will be supervised by a CWU faculty member.  Learn more about the research specialization of physics faculty on the research page.

 

Requirements:

  • Research project must be arranged in advance with a faculty member from the CWU physics department.
  • Research projects must be started before winter quarter of their final year but can begin sophomore year with advisor and mentor approval.
  • During the final 2 credits of PHYS 495, students are required to complete a presentation and technical report or project proposal detailing their project.

 

Research-Intensive Class Track:

Students taking a research-intensive class (see the list below) may have the option of registering for an additional 2 credits of PHYS 495 in a subsequent quarter to continue/expand on a project based on the course content.

 

Research-Intensive Classes:

  • PHYS 201: Observational Astronomy
  • PHYS 323: Experimental Biophysics
  • PHYS 334: Experimental Physics
  • PHYS 322: Molecular Biophysics
  • PHYS 306: Gateway to Space
  • PHYS 433: Experimental Atomic Physics
  • PHYS 454: Acoustics
  • PHYS 461: Advanced Computational

Requirements:

  • You must inform your research-intensive class instructor that you have selected this track during the first week of the course.
  • Students must have approval from the instructor of the research-intensive class before signing up for an additional 2 credits of PHYS 495. 
  • The continuation of a research-intensive class project is neither required or assured. Approval depends on the student performance in the course and the instructor’s availability.
  • During the final 2 credits of PHYS 495, students are required to complete a presentation and a technical report or proposal detailing their research project.

 

Summer Research/Internship Track: 

Students will complete a research experience or technical internship over the summer at CWU or offsite. In the following academic year, students must register for an additional 2 credits of PHYS 495 with a Physics faculty member. During this time, students can wrap up the project and complete a final presentation and technical document describing their summer experience.

 

Requirements:

  • The summer experience must be arranged and coordinated in advance with a faculty mentor from the CWU Physics Department (even if the research experience is offsite), and approved by the Physics department chair.
  • Internships and research experiences must be in a technical field (science, science education, or engineering) and consist of at least 200 hours of work mentored by a professional in that field.
  • During the final 2 credits of PHYS 495, students are required to complete a presentation and technical report or project proposal detailing their project or experience.

 

 

Specific Research Requirements for Each Degree:

  • Students completing a B.S. Degree must complete the first component of the track (either 2 credits of PHYS 495, a summer research opportunity, or a research-intensive class) and an additional 2 credits of PHYS 495.
  • Students completing a B.A. are encouraged to complete the full track but are only required to complete the first step (either 2 credits of PHYS 495, a summer research opportunity, or a research-intensive class).
  • Students taking the Dual Degree path are not required to complete a research track at CWU. In its place an independant, group, or capstone project from their engineering program may be substituted.
  • Students completing a minor in physics may use PHYS 495 as an elective but are not required to do research.
  • Students completing an astronomy minor are required to take at least one quarter of PHYS 495.

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