Academics

About the Department

A BS in physics will prepare you for demanding scientific research in any of the following areas of inquiry: non-linear optics and photonics, which can relate to laser eye protection; biomedical imaging; quantum dynamics; semiconductors; and even biological applications such as the acoustics of whale sonar.

Mission

  • To facilitate the advancement and dissemination of physical reasoning and knowledge, both through research and teaching programs. Simultaneously, contribute to the economic and intellectual vitality of the commonwealth and its urban centers, through educational, collaborative, and outreach programs.
  • To provide high quality, public supported, university education to urban students, stressing not only the formal but also the translational aspects of the discipline including: (1) graduate and undergraduate training for a wide range of careers where a background in basic physical science, quantitative analytical problem-solving strategies and/or data-driven model-building are essential; (2) general training in understanding the empirical basis for scientific inquiry necessary for being informed citizens in a technologically advanced society; (3) providing a resource for scientific expertise available to all constituents in the community.
  • To be generally responsive to the changing needs of the campus and be active in reflecting the campus emphasis on access and excellence.

For all constituents that interact with the department, we strive to provide:

  • The opportunity to learn and develop critical reasoning skills as it pertains to problem-solving in a wider array of contexts.
  • The ability to read, assimilate and assess scientific or technical literature and to represent its key elements in oral and written presentations.
  • Foundations in physical methodology and techniques.
  • The sense of excitement and enthusiasm that drives discovery in the discipline.
  • A strong sense of scientific integrity that must accompany discovery.
     

Departmental Goals and Objectives

Goals:

  • Make majors in physics and engineering physics aware of and prepare them not just for traditional careers in physics but for a wider array of post-graduate and job options.
  • Present physics to non-majors, who are fulfilling core competency requirements in the department, in a suitably contextualized setting and create awareness of skills necessary to assume leadership roles in our increasingly technological world.
  • Develop undergraduate courses that reflect advances in physics teaching pedagogies, and are designed to increase retention of students and enhance learning outcomes.
  • Have a program design which, specifically at the graduate level, allows students from non-physics backgrounds to become trained in physics. This provides the dual mechanism for going outside the traditional physics pipeline.
  • Ensure productive research programs, supported by significant outside funding, designed to involve student participation at multiple levels (especially from under-represented groups), and which take advantage of interdisciplinary and institutional initiatives and collaborations.
  • Offer vigorous and effective teaching programs, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, involving opportunities for outreach to area teachers and schools.

Objectives:

Learning:

  • Students acquire appropriate competence in physics foundations and have been given a working knowledge of methodologies in a wide range of sub-fields in modern physics.
  • Students acquire competence in laboratory skills and can work independently.
  • Students acquire the ability to select from an array of analytic and computational tools to solve specific problems.
  • Students are able to scientifically justify this decision and gauge its efficacy.methodologies in a wide range of sub-fields in modern physics.
  • Students acquire competence in laboratory skills and can work independently.
  • Students acquire the ability to select from an array of analytic and computational tools to solve specific problems.
  • Students are able to scientifically justify this decision and gauge its efficacy.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to extend ideas from one area of physics to problems in other areas or disciplines.
  • Students are broadly aware of the challenging and open problems of the day.
  • Students are encouraged to engage in research at the earliest opportunity.
  • Students can relate and articulate the connections between abstract theoretical constructs and reality.


Research and Pedagogy:

  • Offer a coherent curriculum which allows for connections to be drawn across themes.
  • Recruit faculty under the overall rubric of “Non-equilibrium physics” and who overlap with one of the four main research areas: (1) photonics, laser and nonlinear optics; (2) materials and device physics; (3) bio-physics and bio-medical imaging; (4) modern applications of quantum physics.

The department offers a well-regarded terminal M.S. degree in Applied Physics and a recently approved Ph.D. in Applied Physics.