The Department of Physics offers nine programs leading to the baccalaureate degree with a major in physics. The course structure recommended by the department is essentially identical during the first two years of all programs so that a revision in a student’s plan need not involve any loss of time.
The greatest flexibility is found in the liberal arts (B.A.) program, which invites interdisciplinary studies in areas such as biophysics, geophysics, physical oceanography, chemical physics, mathematical physics or astronomy. The program can also be tailored to prepare a student for immediate employment or for graduate study in various areas such as medicine, law, engineering, business management, scientific journalism, nanotechnology and others for which an undergraduate major in physics is valuable.
The bachelor of science degree in physics involves the greatest depth in physics and mathematics. This program prepares the student for employment in a technical position upon graduation and provides as well a solid foundation for entrance into a graduate program in physics.
The physics-3/2 cooperative engineering option requires three years of study at Millersville in the liberal arts curriculum with a physics major plus two years in residence in the engineering program at Pennsylvania State University. At the end of the five years, the student receives two baccalaureate degrees: a B.A. in physics from Millersville and a B.S. in engineering from the cooperating engineering school.
In addition to the 3/2 arrangement, we have two other cooperative programs, one of these is a 4/2 program with Penn State. A student studies for four years at Millersville and earns a B.S. degree in physics. After transferring to Penn State, in two years the student earns a master’s degree from the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics. In practice, it is possible to complete this program in less than two years. Up to six undergraduate credits at the 400 level in physics or mathematics may be transferred as graduate credit towards the master’s degree at Penn State. Summer research programs at Penn State are also available and can generate graduate credit in this program. A student can finish the graduate portion of this program in a year and a half.
The other cooperative program we have with Penn State leads to a B.A. degree from Millersville with an option in nanotechnology. The standard courses for our B.A. Physics degree are required. However, the student also spends a semester at the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility and earns 18 credits learning the use of specialized nanotechnology devices and techniques. The semester at Penn State typically occurs during the junior year.
The program in secondary education prepares students for careers in precollege teaching, providing certification in physics.
The cooperative education program in physics is an optional arrangement whereby students combine practical on-the-job experience with their formal classroom instruction. After the freshman year, the co-op program is available to all physics majors in the B.A. and B.S. programs who satisfy the departmental admission requirements. For more information, see Cooperative Education in the Special Academic Opportunities section.
Outstanding students majoring in physics may pursue departmental honors during their senior year. Participation in the departmental honors program is highly selective and offers students in each of our major programs an opportunity to strengthen their background in physics and to work closely with a faculty mentor on an extended research project. General information on departmental honors is found in the Special Academic Opportunities section of this catalog. Specific requirements for honors in each of our major programs are available from the department chairperson.
A minor program is also available for students who do not elect a major in physics. The minor offers students an exposure to physics through the intermediate level of our major program.
The department has prepared a student handbook which provides more detailed information on our programs, faculty and resources. This handbook, as well as additional information on any of the above programs, is available from the physics department.