Explore the cornerstone of science and its connection to the mysteries of the Universe at large.
About the Major
The Department of Physics offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Courses explore mysteries of the universe, from special relativity, nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology to the electromagnetic nature of light, interference phenomenon, quantum statistics, solid-state devises and electromagnetic theory. Students enter the powerful arena of scientific inquiry and learn how modern day technology continues to be affected by development in Physics – and how its study will continue to shape our society in dramatic fashion.
The Bachelor of Science degree in Physics consists of at least 39 credit hours of Physics and at least three other Physics courses numbered above 300. In addition, Multivariable Calculus, Introduction to Differential Equations, and General Chemistry I/II are required. There is also a senior comprehensive examination.
The Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics consists of at least 29 credit hours in Physics and at least four other courses that are either Physics offerings numbered above 300, or Descriptive Astronomy. In addition, Multivariable Calculus, Introduction to Differential Equations, and at least eight credit hours of lab science courses outside of Physics are required. There is also a senior comprehensive examination.
About the Minor
A minor in Physics consists of at least 17 credit hours in Physics.
Majors may attain Departmental Honors in physics by fulfilling the following requirements:
- Attaining a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all courses taken in the department.
- Satisfactorily completing a research project, including preparation of a paper suitable for publication in a scientific journal and/or presentation at a scientific meeting.
Faculty Interface and Class Size
The faculty of the Physics Department are determined to raise public awareness of the importance of physics to society, and to provide a challenging and exciting program for our students. The talents, availability and innovative spirit of our dedicated faculty, our small class sizes, and the flexibility of our program insure that the quality of education received by Mercer students compares favorably with that of the best physics departments in America. Efforts continue to blend solid fundamentals with state-of-the-art computing and high-technology tools in both classroom and laboratory environments. We are committed to develop and deliver a physics program that prepares our graduates for success.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Research opportunities abound throughout the Physics Major's course of study, with research advisors available to students. Upper level students have the opportunity to dedicate one to three hours worth of credit (which can be spread over several semesters) to the Research in Physics course where they are trained in the techniques of basic research in physics with application to a research project of current importance.
Honors students are required to take on a research project whose findings are published in scientific journals or presented at a scientific meeting.
The work of Physicists has improved the energy efficiency of our homes and has provided the basis for many tools of medicine. Physicists develop new materials and continue to provide technological advances. In the past, they have given us radio and television, radar, fiber-optics, lasers, atomic energy, and the semiconductor devices responsible for the information age. Discoveries in Physics launched the telecommunications revolution, including the world-wide web.
Other opportunities include:
- Industrial and governmental careers
- Advanced graduate programs
- Teaching science in secondary schools
- Medical field
- Technology field