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Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences

Physics Major

The Physics major is divided into four main concentrations designed to give the student the greatest possible flexibility in preparation for graduate study in physics, astrophysics, medicine, engineering or other allied fields, and for professional practice as a physicist in industrial, governmental or institutional laboratories. A fifth concentration is offered for students interested in teaching physics at the secondary level.

The concentrations are as follows:

Course Selection

It is recommended that those who intend to pursue graduate studies in physics or astrophysics, take the general physics track or the astrophysics track, as well as additional physics electives and mathematics courses. Those who intend to participate in fundamental or applied research and development in industrial or government laboratories are encouraged to take the applied physics track and other physics electives.

Students may also wish to elect a foreign language as preparation for graduate study. Students may also supplement the program of study by participation in a guided independent study and/or ongoing research project. Up to 6 units of such courses (independent study, directed readings, research problems, etc.) may count toward required physics electives. A combination of well-grounded preparation in fundamentals plus the availability of an individually tailored program of study is designed to optimize studentsí preparation for graduate school or a professional career. In addition to physics courses, all majors are required to complete courses in mathematics and chemistry. Calculus III is highly recommended. Upper-level mathematics electives especially recommended are Differential Equations, Advanced Calculus and Numerical Analysis I, II.

Obtaining a Faculty Adviser

Students who intend to major in physics should contact the department in order to be assigned a faculty adviser. The faculty adviser will assist students in planning a program that will meet their special needs. Advisers are also available for advising on career opportunities and employment. Physics majors are required to complete 16, and minors 8, of the required upper-division units in physics at Towson University. Students should be aware that most advanced physics courses (300- and 400-level) may be offered in either the first term or the second term, but not in both terms. Some physics electives are only offered every other year. Advisers will have information on the courses offered and on the schedules.

Plan of Study

Most required upper-level physics courses are taught in the late afternoon or early evening on a rotating schedule. This should enable a nontraditional student who can only attend classes at these times to complete the major, although the time required will usually exceed the normal four years. Students should contact the department office or their advisers for information about the scheduling of these courses.Students must see their advisers no later than the time of their matriculation for the third term in general physics, which is normally the beginning of the spring term of their sophomore year. Students, after consultation with their advisers, will propose a tentative plan for completing all graduation requirements, including those for the major. This selection of electives for the various concentrations must be approved by an adviser. The plan may be modified from time to time, but the modification must be approved by the major adviser. Students may also organize an individualized course of studies. This gives students the option to select a plan that reflects their interest in a special area of physics. The array of courses must have internal coherence and be approved by the major adviser.


Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences
Smith Hall, Room 445 (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Phone: 410-704-3020
Fax: 410-704-3511






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