Physics Major

Physics lab experiments

Shawnee State has an outstanding degree program in physics that prepares its graduates for careers in the sciences. Many of our graduates have pursued graduate programs in physics, or have entered the workforce directly after graduation.

Shawnee State designed its physics program to provide students with a comprehensive core of physics courses. As part of the program, students take 24 hours of courses from at least two disciplines that include: biology, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. This provides students with both a depth in physics and a breadth in the Natural Sciences.

We have two specially-designed physics lecture-lab hybrid classrooms, along with a dedicated research lab space and a physics stockroom. Our physics faculty members offer research opportunities for students in such diverse areas as plasma physics, physics education, and astrophysics.

  • Three faculty members with Ph.D.'s in physics, with specialties of astrophysics, particle physics, and plasma physics.
  • Undergraduate research opportunities every semester.
  • Upper-division classes are small, with class sizes typically around 5 students.
  • A teaching licensure option is available with our BS Natural Sciences degree.
  • We have an active physics study club that meets Monday through Friday during the semester.
  • Dedicated set of ten iMacs for physics labs, along with Vernier sensors and probes.
  • SSU’s Clark Planetarium is affiliated with a physics faculty member, and student employment opportunities are available.
  • Shawnee State possesses a Foucault pendulum—one of only seven in the state of Ohio—which provides an unambiguous demonstration of the rotation of the Earth!

Degree Requirements for the BS Natural Sciences, Physics Concentration

2017–2018 Catalog

First Year Experience (FYE) Class (1–2 hours)

  • UNIV1100 (1 hour), or
  • HONR1101 (2 hours)

The FYE requirement is waived for all transfer students who have earned 30 or more credit hours.

General Education Program (30 hours)

The Natural Science and Quantitative Reasoning components of the GEP are satisfied by the math and science requirements of this degree. See the GEP Requirements in the online course catalog for further information.

Physics Concentration (26 hours)

PHYS2211 Calculus-Based Physics 1 4
PHYS2212 Calculus-Based Physics 2 4
PHYS2250 Modern Physics 4
PHYS3000 Intermediate Laboratory 2
PHYS3010 Thermodynamics 3
PHYS3020 Mechanics 3
PHYS4000 Electricity & Magnetism 3
PHYS4010 Quantum Mechanics 3
Course Title Hours

Additional Science/Math, Area II (12 hours)

Select one area of science/math other than physics. You may choose from biology, chemistry, geology, or math. Math courses must be numbered 1200 or above.

Course Title Hours

Additional Science/Math, Area III (8 hours)

Select one area of science/math other than physics and your area II selection. You may choose from biology, chemistry, geology, or math. Math courses must be numbered 1200 or above.

Course Title Hours

Additional Science/Math (4 hours)

Select any course in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, natural science, or math not used above. Math courses must be numbered 1200 or above.

Course Title Hours


IDST4490  Senior Seminar  3
Course Title Hours

General Electives

Once all other requirements have been met, take enough general electives to meet the 120 hour requirement.

Additional Minimum Requirements

  • Proficiency in MATH 1250 (Trigonometry) through completion, or through placement in and completion of a higher level math (i.e. MATH 2110 Calculus), is required for all BS-Natural Science concentrations
  • 2.00 overall, cumulative GPA
  • 60 semester credit hours at 2000 level or above
  • TWO courses flagged as Writing Intensive (WI) - may be satisfied by courses already counted in the GEP

Special Minimum Requirements for Transfer Students

  • 30 semester credit hours completed at SSU, of which 21 credit hours must be upper division courses (3000 – 4000 level)
  • 12 semester credit hours in the Natural Sciences completed at SSU at the 3000 or 4000 level, of which 8 must be in physics

Natural Sciences

Contact Information

Department of Natural Sciences
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Dr. Andy Napper, Chairperson
Sharon Messer, Secretary

Phone: (740) 351-3456
Fax: (740) 351-3815 or

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