The Physics/Physics Education Program

The physics program at Saint Vincent College offers an excellent education in one of the most important research fields of our time. Students can learn about and specialize in renewable energy, nuclear physics, the cosmos, our climate and much more. Our expert faculty teaches and mentors students, providing theoretical knowledge and giving practical experience in our state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories. After graduating with a degree in physics, our students continue their education in graduate school or begin a successful career in the field.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Physics?

Majoring in physics or physics education opens up possibilities for a wide variety of fields. Physics plays a vital role in many technology-based industries, including nanotechnology, computing and renewable energy.

Astrophysics, medical physics, geophysics and meteorology are also popular fields. Physics education allows our students to be well prepared to teach physics concepts to elementary, middle and high school students.

But physics graduates are not restricted to physics-related fields. Their ability to model complex system is valuable in finance, while their logical approach and ability to understand new technology is useful especially in patent law. Employers in any field value physics graduates’ ability to quickly grasp new concepts, determination to find coherent answers and analytical as well as mathematical skills.

In short, studying physics is a great way to prepare students for a career after college. On average, physics graduates earn more than graduates of most other subjects, including psychology, biology, linguistics and history.

Resultsphysics-results
Physics Results
  • Our students have a 100-percent acceptance to graduate programs in Physics and Engineering, with regular financial aid awards. About 60 percent of our students go to graduate school in Physics and Engineering. Among the graduate schools, our students have obtained offers at the University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, University of Notre Dame, College of William and Mary and Purdue University. 
  • The department has an excellent record in the area of Summer Fellowship and Research offers. Among the places where our students did their training are: Duke University, Michigan State University, NASA, Pennsylvania State University, Bucknell University and Naval Research Labs. 
  • The department also has an excellent record in teacher placement. Among the places where our students teach Physics and Math are: Greater Latrobe School District, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield Area, Derry Area, Connellsville, Penn Trafford and Franklin Regional. 
  • In addition, the department has an excellent record in placing students in industrial jobs. Among places where our students work are: FBI, Lawrence Livermore Lab, Westinghouse, Microsoft, Naval Submarine Program, PPG, Alcoa and UPMC. 
  • Many of our students have published their research work with their professors in some of the most prestigious physics journals. Among such journals are the American Journal of Physics and the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. 
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Major Requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics or Physics Education

All majors must complete college core curriculum.

College Core (48 credits):
TH 119 First Theology (freshman year) - 3 credits
Theology (200 Level) - 3 credits
Theology (300 Level) - 3 credits
History (100 Level) - 3 credits
History (200 Level) - 3 credits
PL 101 1st Philosophy - 3 credits
Philosophy Elective (PL 215 Ethics suggested) - 3 credits
Natural Science 100 level with lab - 4 credits
Natural Science 200 level with lab - 4 credits
EL 102 Language and Rhetoric (freshman year) - 3 credits
English Elective (Literature Course) - 3 credits
English Elective - 3 credits
Fine Arts (100 Level) - 3 credits
Foreign Language Intermediate Level - 3 credits
Foreign Language Intermediate Level - 3 credits
First-Year Seminar (additional hour) - 1 credit

Major Requirements for B.S. in Physics (68 credits):
PH 100 Physics Seminar - 1 credit
PH 111 General Physics I - 3 credits
PH 112 General Physics II - 3 credits
PH 113 General Physics I Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 114 General Physics II Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 211 Modern Physics I - 3 credits
PH 213 Modern Physics I Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 215 Thermodynamics - 3 credits
PH 221 Classical Mechanics - 3 credits
PH 241 Optics - 3 credits
PH 243 Optics Laboratory -1 credit
PH 244 Advanced Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 252 Electromagnetic Fields - 3 credits
PH 261 Electronics - 3 credits
PH 263 Electronics Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 311 Modern Physics II - 3 credits
PH 322 Quantum Mechanics - 3 credits
PH 341 Condensed Matter Physics - 3 credits
PH 370 Mathematical Physics - 3 credits
PH 381 Research - 1 credit
MA 111-113 Calculus I-III - 12 credits
MA 114 Differential Equations - 4 credits
CH 101, 103 General Chemistry I and Laboratory - 4 credits
CH 102, 104 General Chemistry II and Laboratory - 4 credits

A thesis is required in the senior year.

 

Major Requirements for a B.S. in Physics Education (68 credits): 

NSCI 100 Astronomy - 3 credits
NSCI 101 Astronomy Laboratory - 1 credit
NSCI 135 Physical Geology - 3 credits
NSCI 136 Physical Geology Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 100 Physics Seminar - 1 credit
PH 111 General Physics I - 3 credits
PH 112 General Physics II - 3 credits
PH 113 General Physics I Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 114 General Physics II Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 211 Modern Physics I - 3 credits
PH 213 Modern Physics I Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 215 Thermodynamics - 3 credit
PH 221 Classical Mechanics - 3 credits
PH 241 Optics - 3 credits
PH 243 Optics Laboratory - 1  credit
PH 244 Advanced Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 261 Electronics - 3 credits
PH 263 Electronics Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 322 Quantum Mechanics - 3 credits
PH 381 Research - 1 credit
MA 111-113 Calculus I-III - 12 credits
MA 114 Differential Equations - 4 credits
CH 101, 103 General Chemistry I and Laboratory - 4 credits
CH 102, 104 General Chemistry II and Laboratory - 4 credits
BL 150, 151 General Biology and Laboratory - 4 credits

A thesis is required in the senior year.

See Education Department (insert link) for Education course requirements.

Requirements for a Physics Minor (19 credits): 

PH 111 General Physics - 3 credits
PH 112 General Physics II - 3 credits
PH 113 General Physics Laboratory I - 1 credit
PH 114 General Physics Laboratory II - 1 credit
In addition, select 11 credits from courses numbered above PH 200, including at least one of the following:
PH 213 Modern Physics I Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 243 Optics Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 244 Advanced Laboratory - 1 credit
PH 263 Electronics Laboratory - 1 credit
MA 111-112 Calculus I-II are prerequisites for General Physics.
MA 113-114 Calculus III-IV are recommended electives.

Student Work and Researchphysics-student-research
Student Work and Research in Physics

During their time at Saint Vincent College, physics students have the ability to utilize to state-of-the-art equipment in our Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion in the classroom and for their own research. As a result, our students have conducted research in a wide variety of subjects:

  • Electromagnetic properties of atoms
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Model rocket design and performance
  • Physics Education
  • Friction on the nano scale
  • UV properties of quasars
  • Circuit design
  • Plasma physics
  • Computational physics
  • Nuclear physics

Physics students at Saint Vincent College have gained national recognition by publishing their research in some of the most prestigious professional journals of the field. Our professors work closely with their students to ensure smooth publication. Past articles include:

  • C. A. Burkholder with M. A. Maize, “Electric polarizability and the solution of an inhomogeneous differential equation,” Am. J. Phys. 63, 244-247 (1995).
  • S. Paulson and A. D’Avanti with M. A. Maize, “Electric polarizability of a relativistic particle,” Am. J. Phys. 65, 888-892 (1997).
  • Michael Williams with M. A. Maize, “The nonrelativistic frequency-dependent polarizability of a bound particle,” Am. J. Phys. 72, 691-694 (2003).
  • M. A. Antonacci with M. A. Maize and F. Marsiglio, “The static electric polarizability of a particle bound by a finite potential well,” Am. J. Phys. 79, 222-225 (2011).
Internships and Careers in Physics

Physics students at Saint Vincent College gain valuable theoretical and practical experience in our classrooms and laboratories. But their education doesn’t end there; every year, our students complete summer fellowships to research at prestigious institutions such as Duke University, Michigan State University, NASA, Pennsylvania State University, University of Bucknell, University of Glasgow and Naval Research Labs.

As a result, our students are ideally prepared to begin their career path after graduation. Recent physics graduates from Saint Vincent College now work at the FBI, Lawrence Livermore Lab, Westinghouse, Microsoft, Naval Submarine Program, PPG, Alcoa and UPMC.

Recent physics education graduates now teach physics and math locally at Latrobe School District, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Derry Township, Connellsville, Penn Trafford and Franklin Regional; regionally in Westmoreland, Somerset, Beaver, Fayette counties; and as well as nationally in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado and California. In fact, our department has a 95 percent success rate for graduates obtaining a teacher certification in the United States.

But many physics students also chose to continue their education after graduating from Saint Vincent College. Institutions such as the University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, University of Notre Dame, College of William and Mary and Purdue University have helped recent graduates continue their studies. In all, 95 percent of our graduates are accepted to doctoral or masters programs, 20 percent higher than the average. Meanwhile, 70 percent of our students are accepted to M.D. programs, which is 15 percent better than the national average.

  • Learning Objectives

    Physics and Physics Education Learning Objectives

    • Students will have knowledge of the fundamental theoretical fields of physics.
    • Students will have understanding and practice of experimental nature of physical science.
    • Students will have the capability to perform independent research.
    • Students will be able to obtain entrance to and perform in graduate and professional schools.
    • Physics Education students will be successful in gaining an education certification and procurement of positions in secondary schools.