Department of Physics Programs

Physics is more than the basic science that brings us closest to comprehending the universe and the laws of nature — it is also the foundation for a technological economy. The physics curriculum is an opportunity to learn the power of scientific thinking, to build a respect for evidence, and to see the consistency of natural laws. Southern’s physics students go on to do research, engineering, and systems development in industry or to study advanced physics, materials science or engineering in graduate school.

The Master of Science program in Applied Physics is an interdisciplinary program that offers students the opportunity to complete graduate studies in physics with a particular emphasis on applied research and technology development for industry. The program is a formally recognized Professional Science Master's degree program, meaning that in addition to science courses, students are also required to take courses in management. The program in Applied Physics has two tracks — materials science/ nanotechnology and optics/optical instrumentation — intended to develop the state's workforce in the established optics and materials science industries, as well as in the emerging nanotechnology sector.

The minor in physics provides students with a core education in classical and modern physics principles, analytic and experimental techniques. Each student builds on that base of knowledge with the selection of two to three electives. The minor in physics serves the interest of any student studying science, mathematics, business, economics and more who wishes to better understand of the physical world. The minor is also well suited for students interested in pursuing professional careers in medicine, the health sciences, and law.

The BS 7-12 program prepares students to be physics teachers at the junior high and high school levels. Students develop a strong foundation in the principles, concepts, analytic methods, and experimental techniques of physics and cognate subjects required at the bachelor-degree level. Together with the study of physics the student pursues a curriculum in the foundations of education and teaching at the secondary school level, including a one-semester student teaching practicum.

Students who successfully receive the B.S. 7-12 degree and pass Praxis® II will be recommended for Initial Teacher Certification.

The Graduate Certificate in Nanotechnology (GCNT) is a three-course graduate certificate program with a prerequisite of one foundational science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) course at the advanced undergraduate level. The GCNT program provides high-quality education and training experiences in the general concepts of nanotechnology and detailed knowledge and practice in the areas of characterization and synthesis of nanoscale materials. The certificate program is designed to be synergistic with the undergraduate and master's programs in the Department of Physics and is closely linked with the establishment of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities Center for Nanotechnology (ConnSCU-CNT) at SCSU. The GCNT program is multi-institutional in its structure because select faculty from all four CSU campuses (Central, Eastern, Southern, and Western) are involved in the program, but the certificate is issued by the Department of Physics at SCSU.

The GCNT program is offered so that full-time students, people with part-time or full-time employment, people in transition between jobs, and K-12 teachers can participate. The program also actively seeks to partner with local businesses and academic institutions involved in nanotechnology-related work to improve the teaching, research, and training opportunities for the students and faculty. Hence the program is designed to reach as broad a spectrum of  Connecticut residents as possible in order to prepare them to participate in the rapidly advancing field of nanotechnology.

This program offers students the greatest flexibility in choosing courses of interest. Imaginative combinations are possible which enable the student to relate the study of physics to wide-ranging areas such as the social sciences and the fine arts as well as the other natural sciences. Students who are interested in teaching in elementary schools can double-major in Physics and Elementary Education.  It also develops advanced skills in quantitative and analytical thinking for a career in business, law, medicine, or other professions.

This newly instituted program is designed for students whose primary interest is in the applications of physics in engineering and advanced technology.

The Engineering Concentration integrates intensive study of the underlying science with training in the practice of engineering. An engineering education requires a solid scientific foundation based on principles of mathematics and physics. Some of the technological fields that require a strong background in physics include materials science, nanotechnology, telecommunications, digital imaging, renewable energy systems and microelectronics.

The Engineering Concentration provides the opportunity to prepare for employment or graduate study in any of these critical areas of innovation. There is also an increasing emphasis on connections among scientific and engineering fields and this degree program provides excellent preparation for an interdisciplinary future.

The Engineering Concentration also offers valuable preparation for technology-oriented careers in business management and marketing. 

The General program emphasizes inquiry in depth into the central principles, analytical techniques and key applications of physics. The program requirements form the core of the preparation expected for graduate study in fundamental and applied physics, or for initial positions in physics-based careers.  Students can prepare for productive industrial and governmental research, development and technical management careers, and for many other science and technology oriented professional opportunities.