Dr. Matthew A. Wood, Head and Professor
The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides coursework, training, and research experience to students who wish to further their education beyond the bachelor’s level to achieve a greater degree of competence and recognition in their profession. The department offers an MS in Physics, with thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option is taken by traditional MS students who may be interested in going on to a Ph.D program. The non-thesis option includes an Applied Physics emphasis for those planning on working in industry, and a Physics Teaching Emphasis offered completely online. The Physics Teaching Emphasis is designed to support high school physics teachers by reinforcing physics content knowledge and introducing modern topics in physics and astronomy and providing inspiration for transferring modern topics into the high school classroom.
The Physics and Astronomy Department provides well-equipped instructional and research laboratories. Sophisticated equipment and faculty direction are available for experimental research in organic semicondoctor physics, solid state physics, X-ray spectroscopy, and surface physics.
Faculty also conduct research in theoretical nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, observational and computational stellar astrophysics, computational physics and physics education research. In addition, the department has an active astronomy and planetary science research program in collaboration with staff members of the planetarium. The department is a member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), which provides remote access for students and faculty to two 1-m class telescopes at the premiere observing sites Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in Arizona, USA, Cerro Tololo International Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) in the Canary Islands. The department also owns an observatory located 5 miles south of the campus, and maintains extensive equipment to help prepare science teachers to introduce and teach the latest physics curriculum developments.
Programs of Graduate Work
Physics MS - Thesis
The Master of Science in Physics with research thesis is ordinarily chosen by those students preparing for further graduate study leading to the PhD degree, industrial employment, or for college teaching. The Physics MS - Thesis degree program requires the completion of a research thesis and 30 semester hours, including 2 courses (6 semester hours) allotted to the thesis.
Physics MS - Non-Thesis
Applied Physics Emphasis
The applied physics emphasis is designed for students who plan to have a career in a technical industry with a scientific, engineering or programming emphasis. The coursework in this emphasis beyond the required core courses emphasize the practical hands-on aspects of physics. Applied physics differs from engineering in that the applied physicist might not be designing a specific item, but might instead be using physics to help develop new technologies or to assist in solving an engineering problem. An applied physicist is a generalist who can be called upon to contribute in several different arenas in a technology company. The Physics MS - Non Thesis degree program requires 36 semesters hours of courses.
Physics Teaching Emphasis
The new online emphasis is designed for high-school physics teachers who may not necessarily have a degree in physics. It is based around 6 courses which introduce students to advanced physics content such as quantum physics and astrophysics. As well as the physics itself, we will examine the historical context of the subjects, and examine their pedagogy with an aim to introducing modern physics content into the high school classroom. This Master's program will reinforce teacher's physics content knowledge and allow teachers to instruct dual enrollment courses and at community college level.
The suggested minimum undergraduate courses include a year of calculus-based physics, modern physics, and mathematics up through differential equations; those students who do not have this minimum will be expected to take the "Mathematical Methods for Educators" course during their first semester. The Physics MS - Option II Non Thesis degree program requires 36 semester hours.
Admission to a graduate program is granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies upon the recommendation of the department, and is based on scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a statement of purpose, a letter of recommendation and undergraduate transcripts. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better are not required to take the GRE exam.
Physics graduate students in the Thesis program and the Non Thesis Applied Physics Emphasis must register for PHYS 501 Graduate Seminar each semester in residence. A "Comprehensive Examination" is required of all students majoring in physics.
Note: The Department reserves the right to suspend from the program any student who in the judgment of a duly constituted departmental committee does not meet the professional expectations of the field.
Physics and Astronomy
B.S., M.S., University of Rio de Janeiro; Ph.D., University of Bonn.
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Nagpur University.
B.S., Lanzhou University; Ph.D., Michigan State University.
B.S., University of Texas at Austin; Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder
Associate Professional Track and Planetarium Director
B.S., Montana State University; M.S., San Diego State University;Ph.D., Boston University
M.Phys., University of Oxford; M.Sc. in.Phys., University of Tennessee; D.Phil. in Physics, University of Oxford
B.S., Hanyang University; M.S., Oregon State University; Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
B.S., The Pennsylvania State University; M.S., Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz.
Matthew A. Wood
Professor and Department Head
B.S., Iowa State University; M.A., The University of Texas at Austin; Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin