Jun 17, 2024  
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - 3+2 Program

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Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics
Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science
Minor Offered: Physics
Also Offered: Pre-Engineering Program, 3+2 Physics/Engineering Dual Degree Program 

“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) succeed 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 in five years. The 3+2 Dual Degree allows the student to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Truman and a Bachelor of Science in an engineering field from an engineering school (e.g., Rolla, MU, Iowa State, etc.) in ten semesters. 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-hour 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 credit hours (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 3+2 dual degree student will have a three-person engineering advisory committee who will work with the individual student before and after his or her transfer from Truman. This committee will serve 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 (subject Physics) in the semester prior to submitting applications. 


Departmental Honors in Physics are awarded to graduating students who meet at least one of the following two requirements:

  1. 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
  2. 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.


Liberal Studies Program Requirements: 31-57 Credit Hours

Missouri Statute Requirement: 1-3 Credit Hours

Bachelor of Arts Requirement: 0-6 Credit Hours

Intermediate proficiency in ONE foreign language


The Physics BA major consists of two (2) parts: Required Support and Major Requirements. Each student must complete both parts.

Part II: Major Requirements: 49 Credit Hours

  • Learning Plan***: 15 Credit Hours

Physics Electives

Choose at least 6 hours from the list below:

  • Junior or senior level engineering courses to be approved by Truman physics faculty and transferred back to Truman


*Capstone Courses

**The one credit for PHYS 491 will be attributed to the Major Requirements section above.

***The learning plan must consist of at least 15 hours of engineering courses that are not counted elsewhere. The learning plan is to be submitted to the Truman Engineering Program Coordinator in the Physics Department. Upon receiving the learning plan containing specific courses, the Truman engineering coordinator will form a committee of three Truman physics faculty which will rule on the adequacy of the learning plan, and issue a duly signed copy of the Learning Plan Approval Form to the student. The learning plan for 3+2 dual degree BA does not need to be pre-approved before transferring to the engineering school, but must be approved before submitting the graduation application. Student must fill out the 3+2 Dual Degree BA in Physics Learning Plan and Physics Elective Substitution Form (“3+2 Learning Plan”) available from his/her advisor and submit to the Engineering Program Coordinator in the physics discipline.

Electives to Total: 120 Credit Hours

Further Degree Criterion:

All Physics majors must score at or above the 20th percentile on the nationally-normed senior exam (MFAT).

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