Welcome to Physics, Geology and Astronomy
The Department of Physics, Geology, and Astronomy offers four degree programs for its majors: the B.S. in physics and in biophysics, and the B.S. in geology and in environmental geology. The department also contributes to programs leading to degrees in other sciences, engineering, and professional areas. In addition, the department offers minors in geology and physics, and encourages our students to pursue a minor in any discipline of interest, including education; an education minor could lead to a teaching career at the high-school level.
The mission of the department is to provide students with basic knowledge in the respective disciplines of Earth sciences and physics, and the intellectual skills necessary to become valuable members of society, as they apply their knowledge successfully to graduate studies or professional endeavors. To ensure this, our geology students graduate with a general knowledge of geology and specific knowledge of mineralogy, petrology, sedimentation and stratigraphy, and structural geology, while within the B.S. Physics degree a student must select one of two concentrations: (1) a physics concentration, or (2) a biophysics concentration. The physics concentration is more appropriate for students wishing to pursue careers and further studies in a broad array of fields (including astronomy, geophysics, materials physics, or nuclear physics). Our physics students graduate with a general knowledge of physics and specific knowledge of mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, waves and optics, and modern physics, appropriate to the undergraduate level. The biophysics concentration is appropriate for students who want to pursue careers and post-baccalaureate studies in health-related fields and interdisciplinary graduate programs. The biophysics concentration fulfills all pre-professional requirements for pre-dentistry and pre-medicine, which are described in the pre-professional programs section of the catalog.
The astronomy program is augmented by specialized equipment for astrophotography. The off-campus UTC Clarence T. Jones Observatory provides astronomy presentations to the community at large.