3460 Physics

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics
  • Standard Program in Physics
    • Concentration in Applied Physics
    • Concentration in Astronomy
    • Concentration in Pre-Medicine
    • Concentration in Biophysics
    • Concentration in Geology
    • Concentration in Computer Science
    • Concentration in Education
  • Dual Degree Programs: B.S. Physics with the M.A.T. Science Education
  • Minor in Physics

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Room 605, 25 Park Place
Atlanta, GA 30303
phy-astr.gsu.edu

D. Michael Crenshaw, Chair
Brian Thoms, Associate Chair and Undergraduate Director in Physics
Sumith Doluweera, Undergraduate Director in Physics – Lower Division Courses
Ben McGimsey, Undergraduate Director in Astronomy

All degree programs described below are built on a core of 21 semester hours of physics numbered 3300 or above and 4 semester hours of mathematics. The standard program is designed to prepare the student for graduate school or immediate employment upon graduation. Students selecting the standard program must complete 21 semester hours of physics, astronomy and mathematics beyond the core set of physics and mathematics courses listed below. As an alternative to the standard program, courses in one of several specific areas of concentration may be chosen as described below. The available areas of concentration are applied physics, astronomy, pre-medicine, biophysics, geology, computer science, and education.

A central objective of Georgia State University is that all graduates from its programs will be proficient in writing, critical and analytical thinking, and use of information resources. In support of this objective, the Department of Physics and Astronomy explicitly incorporates activities to develop these skills as appropriate in each course.

To schedule an effective program of study, it is very important that all students intending to major in physics consult with the physics faculty adviser as soon as possible. Physics majors are strongly encouraged to complete PHYS 1000 in their first or second semester. PHYS 1000 is also appropriate for students considering physics and astronomy.  Physics majors should pay special attention to the early completion of the mathematical requirements if they are to complete their physics requirements during the usual four-year span. The first calculus course should be taken during the freshman year, and the second and third calculus courses should be completed during the sophomore year. The department recommends that General Chemistry I and II be taken during the freshman year. The beginning physics sequence (PHYS 2211KPHYS 2212K) should be completed before the end of the sophomore year. Students who enter the physics major after completing a non-calculus level elementary physics sequence should consult with their departmental adviser on the best method of preparing for more advanced courses in physics.

Academic Advisement for Undergraduate Students

Academic advisement for undergraduate students is provided through the University Advisement Center (freshman through junior status/fewer than 90 hours) and the college’s Office of Academic Assistance (senior status/90 or more hours). See section 3040 for additional information.

B.S. in Physics

Program Degree Requirements

In addition to the Program Degree Requirements, students must fulfill the College of Arts and Sciences Degree Requirements (see section 3030) and the University Degree Requirements (see section 1400).

Area A:

  • Required course: MATH 1112, MATH 1113, or higher level MATH must be taken in Area A. A section of MATH 1113 Precalculus that is designated specifically for this major is recommended (see GoSolar listing to identify appropriate sections).

Areas D:

  • Required course: MATH 2211 Calculus of One Variable I (4) (or a higher-level mathematics course)
  • Recommended courses: CHEM 1211K Principles of Chemistry I (4) and CHEM 1212K Principles of Chemistry II (4)

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major (18)

  1. Required Courses (Unless used to satisfy Area D requirements) (18):
    • PHYS 1000 Gateway to Physics (2) (Not required of student entering with an AS degree)
    • PHYS 2211K Principles of Physics I (4) and PHYS 2212K Principles of Physics II (4)
    • CHEM 1211K Principles of Chemistry I (4) and CHEM 1212K Principles of Chemistry II (4)
    • MATH 2212 Calculus of One Variable II (4)
    • MATH 2215 Multivariate Calculus (4)
  2. Select additional elective courses from the following to complete 18 hours in Area F:
    • CSC 1301 Principles of Computer Science I (4)
    • CSC 1302 Principles of Computer Science II (4)
    • ASTR 1010K Astronomy of the Solar System (4)
    • ASTR 1020K Stellar and Galactic Astronomy (4)
    • BIOL 1103K Introductory Biology I (4)
    • BIOL 1104K Introductory Biology II (4)
    • BIOL 2107K Principles of Biology I (4)
    • BIOL 2108K Principles of Biology II (4)
    • GEOL 1121K Introductory Geology I (4)
    • GEOL 1122K Introductory Geology II (4)
    • EDUC 2110 Investigating Critical and Contemporary Issues in Education (3)
    • EDUC 2120 Exploring Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity in Educ. Contexts (3)
    • EDUC 2130 Exploring Learning and Teaching (3)
    • RSCH 1203 Research Strategies and Technology (1)
  • Students should choose courses appropriate to their intended concentration. Consult the Undergraduate Director for the BS in Physics for advice.
  • All courses above ending in K are commonly offered as separate lecture and lab (L) courses by GSU’s Perimeter College. The combined (K) courses and separate lecture and lab (L) courses cover the same subject matter and are considered equivalent courses.
  • Any credit hours exceeding 18 earned to complete the Area F requirements will count toward elective hours.

Area G: Major Courses

A grade of C or higher is required in all major courses. The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers several concentrations within the B.S. in Physics degree program. The standard program is recommended for those who plan to pursue graduate study in physics. Other options include concentrations in applied physics, astronomy, pre-medicine, biophysics, geology, computer science, and education. Course requirements listed below for each of the options are in addition to the courses listed under Area F and the required lower division courses listed above. The standard program and all concentrations are centered on the 21-hour core of physics courses and the four-hour core of mathematics courses listed below.

Physics and Mathematics Core (25)

  1. Required Courses to Fulfill CTW Requirement (6):
  2. Additional Physics Requirements (15):
  3. Mathematics Requirements (4):

Standard Program in Physics (21)

To meet the requirements for the degree with the standard program, the core set of physics and mathematics courses must be completed along with additional physics and mathematics courses as described below:

  1. Required courses (9):
  2. Physics and Astronomy Courses (9):
    Select nine hours from the following.

  3. Mathematics and Computer Science Courses (3):
    Select one course.

Applied Physics Concentration (21)

In addition to the core courses in physics and mathematics, the applied physics concentration allows courses from other sciences and engineering to complete the program in physics-related areas. Engineering courses may be available through cross registration at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At least 18 semester hours must be completed at the 3000 level or above, and at least nine semester hours must be selected from science and/or engineering courses offered by other departments. The overall program must be developed in consultation with a faculty advisor within the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Astronomy Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, the astronomy concentration consists of 12 semester hours in astronomy courses (ASTR 3510, ASTR 3520, ASTR 4000, and ASTR 4100), and others from the list below, to complete the requirements for the degree.

  1. Required courses (12):
    • ASTR 3510 Astrophysics of Stars and Planets (3)
    • ASTR 3520 Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics (3)
    • ASTR 4100 Astronomical Techniques and Instrumentation (3)
    • ASTR 4200 Applications in Modern Astronomy (3)
  2. Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science Courses (9):
    Select eleven hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

Pre-Medicine Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, the pre-medicine concentration allows courses from biology and chemistry to complete the requirements for the degree. The concentration also provides the set of physics, chemistry, and biology courses required for admission to most medical schools. Note that BIOL 2107K and BIOL 2108K are prerequisites for BIOL 3800 and other upper-division biology courses.

  1. Required Chemistry courses (8):
    • CHEM 2400 Organic Chemistry I (3)
    • CHEM 2410 Organic Chemistry II (3)
    • Select one of the following options (2):
      • CHEM 2400L Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (1) and CHEM 2410L Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (1)
      • CHEM 2100 Intermediate Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2)
  2. Required Biology course (3):
    Select one of the following.

  3. Electives (10):
    Select ten hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

Biophysics Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, the biophysics concentration allows biology and chemistry courses to complete the requirements for the degree. The courses should be chosen from the list below and provide background in several areas including biochemical, biomolecular, and neural sciences. This concentration provides excellent preparation for advanced study in biological physics and for admission to M.D./Ph.D. programs. Note that Biol 2107K and 2108K are prerequisites for Biol 3800 and other upper-division biology courses.

  1. Required courses (6):
  2. Electives (15):
    Select 15 hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director. Note that CHEM 2410, Organic Chemistry II, is a prerequisite for many other courses listed.

Geology Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, this concentration allows geology courses to complete the requirements for the degree. The courses should be chosen from the list below. Note that GEOL 1121K and GEOL 1122K are prerequisites for upper-division geology courses.

  1. Geology Courses (15):
    Select at least 15 hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

  2. Electives (6):
    Select at least six hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

Computer Science Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, this option allows courses in computer science and related areas to complete the requirements for the degree. The courses should be chosen from the list below. Note that one or more of CSC 1301, CSC 1302, CSC 2510, and CSC 2720 are prerequisites for many upper-division computer science courses.

  1. Required Physics course (3):
  2. Computer Science Courses (12):
    Select 12 hours of courses from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

  3. Electives (6):
    Select six hours from the following or other courses approved by the undergraduate director.

Education Concentration (21)

In addition to the core set of physics and mathematics courses, this option leads to certification to teach physics in grades 6-12.  Prior to beginning this concentration, students must be accepted into Teacher Education in the College of Education and Human Development. To apply, students must have:

  • completed Areas A-F of the program of study,
  • earned a 2.5 overall cumulative GPA,
  • passed [Combined Test I, II, and III (700)] or been exempted from the GACE Program Admission Assessment. When registering for the assessment, program entry candidates must add your program provider (Georgia State University – school code 5090) as a score recipient when you register or we will not receive notification that you have completed the assessment; and
  • Completed the Georgia Educator Ethics – Program Entry (350) Assessment; though there is no “Pass/Fail” grade assigned. Program entry candidates must add your program provider (Georgia State University) as a score recipient when you register or we will not receive notification that you have completed the assessment.

Note that EDUC 2110, EDUC 2120, and EDUC 2130 are prerequisites for the field placement courses (EDCI 4600, EDCI 4650, and EDCI 4750).

  1. Required courses (21):
    • EXC 4020 Characteristics and Instructional Strategies for Students with Disabilities (3)
    • EDSC 4655 Principles of Science Instruction (3)
    • EDSC 4755 Theory and Pedagogy of Science Instruction (3)
    • EDCI 3250 Introduction to Teaching in Secondary Schools (3)
    • EDCI 4600 Practicum (3)
    • EDCI 4650 Opening School Experience (0)
    • EDCI 4750 Student Teaching in the Secondary Schools (6)
  2. Additional requirements for teacher certification:
    • Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA for courses in the education concentration.
    • Only hours of EDCI 4600 and EDCI 4750 completed with a grade of B or better will count toward certification.
    • Students must pass appropriate GACE II examination to be recommended for certification.
    • Each student will be required to maintain an electronic program portfolio and to demonstrate proficiency in the pedagogy standards from the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and the content standards from the National Science Education Standards (NSES). Requirements for the INTASC standards and the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) will be embedded in the coursework listed above.

Pre-Service Certificate: Upon admission to a teacher education program, students will be contacted by the college advisement/admissions office and provided with instructions to claim enrollment in their program and submit a GaPSC Pre-Service Certificate Application. The pre-service certificate is required for placement in required field experiences or clinical practice.

Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE): The state of Georgia requires such candidates to take various GACE and Educator Ethics assessments as part of the educator certification process. These computer-delivered assessments have been developed by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) and are delivered by the Education Testing Service (ETS). You will take these tests at different times.

Program Admission and Content Assessments: Program Admission Assessment [Combined Test I, II, and III (700)] is an admission requirement (unless candidate meets qualifications for exemption – scroll down to “Options to Satisfy the Program Admission Assessment Requirement”). When registering for the assessment, program entry candidates must add your program provider (Georgia State University – school code 5090) as a score recipient when you register or we will not receive notification that you have completed the assessment.

Content Assessment (different content assessments for each program) tests your content knowledge and is taken after enrollment and prior to program completion. You will receive specific information regarding this test as you near completion of your program (required for certification).

Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment: Georgia Educator Ethics – Program Entry (350) Assessment is an admission requirement. Completion of this assessment is required for admission, though there is no “Pass/Fail” grade assigned. Program entry candidates must add your program provider (Georgia State University) as a score recipient when you register or we will not receive notification that you have completed the assessment.

edTPA: edTPA is a preservice assessment process designed by educators to answer the essential question: “Is a new teacher ready for the job?” edTPA includes a review of a teacher candidate’s authentic teaching materials as the culmination of a teaching and learning process that documents and demonstrates each candidate’s ability to effectively teach his/her subject matter to all students.
edTPA is a program completion and teacher certification requirement. Students may graduate from the BIS program while continuing to complete teacher certification requirements for edTPA.

Area H: Minor and/or Additional Courses

  1. Students earning a B.S. through the Department of Physics and Astronomy are not required to take a minor.
  2. Additional courses must be taken as electives to complete a minimum of 120 semester hours, exclusive of KH 1010. Although not a requirement, the department recommends that physics majors take these elective courses at the 2000 level or above in mathematics, computer science, chemistry, biology, geology, physics, or astronomy. (Consult with the departmental academic adviser.)

B.S. Physics / M.A.T. Science Education Dual Degree Program

This dual degree program, allowing completion of both degrees and teacher certification requirements in approximately 5 years, is available to undergraduates majoring in physics who have completed at least 30 hours of academic credit (including MATH 2211 and PHYS 2211K) and who have earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3.  Students may apply to the option at any time after completing 30 hours but prior to completing 90 hours of undergraduate coursework.  Applicants are applying for early acceptance into the College of Education and Human Development’s MAT program and therefore must submit the following documentation in addition to meeting the GPA requirement:

  • Complete the BS/MAT pre-application form.  This will be kept on file in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and in the Office of Academic Assistance in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • 2-3 letters of recommendation: (a) one academic or professional letter; (b) one letter from someone who can evaluate the applicant’s personal qualifications, experience, and background in light of potential to work successfully with adolescents; (c) one letter from a current work supervisor, if applicable
  • Documentation of previous work experience (résumé or curriculum vitae)
  • Personal statement of goals and/or reasons for teaching
  • Successful interview with appropriate program faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and in the College of Education and Human Development

Final acceptance into the M.A.T. portion of the program will be contingent upon the following:

  • Maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher;
  • Completion of 90 hours towards the B.S. degree in Physics (including Phys 7460 and Phys 7850);
  • Submission of acceptable GRE scores;
  • Filing an application to the M.A.T. program by the appropriate deadline.

Acceptance into the Teacher Education track is contingent upon acceptance into the M.A.T. portion, completion of 24 hours in physics, and passing or exempting the GACE Basic Skills test.

Students in this program will select one of the B.S. concentrations listed above.  The curriculum allows students to satisfy the content requirement of the M.A.T. program by enrolling in the 7000-level counterparts of the core physics courses (PHYS 7850 for PHYS 3850, Phys 7460] for PHYS 3401, Phys 7600] for PHYS 4600, and Phys 7700] for PHYS 4700). In addition, to meet the M.A.T. and teacher certification requirements, students will enroll in EXC 4020 and 6 hours of graduate-level courses required for the M.A.T. in satisfying 9 hours of elective credits towards the B.S. in Physics.

Normally, students in their 4th year are enrolled in both the B.S. and the M.A.T. programs and will receive the B.S after the 4th year.  In the 5th year, students will take professional education courses (24 hours) and will focus on the student teaching requirements.

For more information on this program’s curriculum, please contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  The M.A.T. requirements for Science Education are described more fully in the College of Education and Human Development section of the Graduate Catalog.

Minor in Physics

Students who wish to minor in physics must take at least 15 semester hours in physics and/or astronomy courses, including at least nine semester hours at the 3000 level or above. Students taking more than 15 semester hours in these courses may count the additional hours toward their electives or may consider completing a double major. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses counting toward the minor.

Graduation with distinction

To qualify for Graduation with Distinction in Physics, students need a minimum grade-point average of 3.4 for all their GSU courses, plus a minimum grade-point average of 3.4 for all courses taken for their major, plus a grade of either A or A+ in the course PHYS 4900 Research Project-CTW.