Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics
“The science of physics seeks to understand the behavior of matter and energy at the most general and fundamental level. The sister sciences of chemistry, earth sciences, and biology (including parts of medical science) build on the laws of physics and rely on many instruments originally devised by physicists. Physics underlies engineering and most of modern technology, and it plays a basic and essential role in our economy and our culture…” (National Academy of Sciences)
The mission of the Physics Department at Truman State University is to support the liberal learning of all students at Truman State University by teaching well and by broadly espousing the notion that the pursuit of understanding in physics is worthwhile, interesting, and deeply satisfying; to support students whose primary field of study overlaps with physics (e.g., chemistry, biology, medicine, and mathematics); and to provide physics majors with the knowledge, skills, methods, and attitudes necessary to understand and engage professionally in inquiry into the nature and behavior of the physical world.
In order to serve this mission, the Physics program is designed to achieve the following general goals: 1) to help students appreciate and understand the process of science, in particular its ever-changing nature, the fact that it is a human endeavor, the back and forth between experiment and abstract reasoning, and the importance of internal consistency; 2) to stimulate lifelong, independent learning; 3) to awaken and nurture appreciation for the beauty of physics; and 4) to contribute to a realistic understanding of technology and its role in society.
Specifically, the Physics Department strives to provide an environment where all our students: 1) develop a broad and coherent knowledge of physics; 2) experience activities unique to scientific research; 3) develop positive work habits, including collaboration, self-discipline, high aspirations, responsibility and honesty; and 4) are prepared for success in graduate school, professional school, engineering school, or in the workforce.
This program offers a combination of degree programs from two institutions that allows a student to receive two related degrees typically in five years. The Dual Degree allows the student to earn a Physics (BA) from Truman and a Bachelor of Science in an engineering field from an engineering school (e.g., Rolla, MU, Iowa State, etc.). The advantages of this program are many. Students graduate from Truman possessing a strong background in physics and a broad liberal arts background. The engineering degree provides the depth and focus of an engineering discipline, and the expertise to be a professional in the technical world. Such a background gives flexibility and breadth, the ability to communicate well, and the capability to work independently and in challenging environments.
The BA in Physics is a typical “four-year” degree from Truman. It provides the strong liberal arts core, the solid foundation of physics, and a personalized 15-credit learning plan through which a student tailors his or her degree to suit future plans. Students must complete the Liberal Studies Program and all Truman graduation requirements. Engineering courses comprise the entirety of the BA learning plan. The Physics BA also requires 6 credits (2 courses) of physics-related electives, which are typically engineering courses taken at the engineering school. The Truman Residence Requirement for graduation is waived for students in this dual degree program.
Each Dual Degree student has a three-person engineering advisory committee who works with the individual student before and after his or her transfer from Truman. This committee serves as a liaison as the engineering courses are completed and the student applies for graduation from Truman. Please see a physics faculty academic advisor for a more specific course listing for this dual degree program.
Students intending to receive a bachelor’s degree in Physics must take the Major Field Test-Physics during their last regular semester (fall or spring) at Truman. In addition, students who wish to apply for admission to graduate programs in physics should take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (subject Physics) in the semester prior to submitting applications.
DEPARTMENTAL HONORS IN PHYSICS
Departmental Honors in Physics are awarded to graduating students who meet at least one of the following two requirements:
- a grade point average in physics courses required for the major which equals or exceeds 3.50, and a score at or above the 90th percentile in the Physics Major Field Test, OR
- a grade point average in physics courses required for the major which equals or exceeds 3.75, and a score at or above the 80th percentile in the Physics Major Field Test.