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Southern Oregon University


Physics is a challenging yet highly rewarding field. One of the first challenges faced by the student is deciding, of the five physics options offered by the department, which to pursue—with each option comes a new set of exciting opportunities!

A student graduating from the department receives a BA or BS in Physics with one of the following five degree options:

Standard Physics

Emphasizes the coursework expected of students planning graduate studies in physics or a closely related field. Students have the flexibility to choose upper division electives in physics or related areas.

Applied Physics

Prepares students for industrial employment or graduate work in applied physics including nanotechnology, biophysics, medical physics, environmental physics, and geophysics.

Materials Science ~New!~

Emphasizes the materials aspects of physical science, and, in particular, emphasizes the relationship between a material's properties and its structure. Prepares students for industrial employment or graduate work.

Engineering Physics

Prepares students for graduate school or careers at technical companies. Coursework is designed with flexibility that allows students to focus on their engieneering emphasis of choice (e.g., biomedical, chemical, electrical/computer, environmental, nuclear engineering).

Physics-Engineering Dual Degree

Allows a student to earn a BA or BS in physics from SOU and a BS in engineering from Oregon State University (OSU). At SOU the students can complete all of the engineering requirements for the chosen department of the OSU professional engineering program, and most of the requirements for the SOU applied physics option. At OSU, students in this program complete SOU's physics degree requirements, along with OSU's professional engineering requirements. Students are eligible to receive a degree from SOU upon completion of the University's requirements and a minimum of 24 credits of upperdivision engineering at OSU. This program provides many career options for students interested in physics and engineering.



In addition, the department offers the opportunity for a Business-Physics co-Major. Interested students should consult Dr. Wu, the program coordinator.


Teaching physics at the middle school or high school level in Oregon public schools requires that a student first complete a bachelor's degree in physics and then applies for admission to SOU's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. Interested students should consult the physics department chair or Dr. Siem, who acts as the liason between the department and SOU's School of Education.

How do I declare a Physics major?

Declaring a major is one of the most important decisions an undergraduate student will make. Students who are interested in the physics major (and who wouldn't be?) are advised to discuss the major with a member of the physics faculty, to enroll in the introductory astronomy sequence (PH 112-113), and to complete calculus I (math 251) their freshmen year.

The Chair of the department will provide the prospective student with information regarding the department; the major; the options for the major; special departmental programs, opportunities, and events; and the necessary requirements and paperwork.

Those who declare physics as their major will be given an advisor in the physics department. The student will necessarily meet with the advisor on a regular basis to ensure that all departmental and university requirements are being met.