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Physics & Astronomy

College of Arts & Sciences

Physics is the study of the properties of matter, energy, radiation, and their interactions. It is generally regarded as basic to all the natural sciences, and as such is a fundamental part of the professional preparation of biologists, chemists, engineers, and other scientists and technologists. Students interested in becoming astronomers generally obtain undergraduate degrees in Physics.

The major program in physics provides the foundations for a broad spectrum of challenging careers in scientific and non-scientific fields. Baccalaureate physics majors find employment opportunities as, for example, research associates in commercial and governments laboratories, sales and engineering representatives for manufacturers of technical products, industrial management trainees, and teachers at the secondary school level.

Many of ETSU's graduates in physics continue their studies in graduate and professional schools, where they specialize in a wide variety of disciplines.

The upper-level physics courses are typically offered on either a 2-semester or 4-semester rotation. For a preliminary schedule listing which semester each upper level courses will be offered, see the courses page.

Students are strongly encouraged to take mathematics at least through ordinary differential equations, and such additional elective courses in astronomy, physics, mathematics, and chemistry as their curriculum will permit.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a major in physics with the B.S. degree. The physics major must also satisfy the General Education Core Requirements and College of Arts and Sciences B.S. requirements. All major programs in physics must be approved by a faculty advisor for physics majors or the chair of the department. To complete university graduation requirements, students must also complete a minor in another subject area.

For more information about majoring in physics, contact one of the Faculty Advisors for Physics majors, or .

Transfer student majoring in physics should contact physics major advisors or for advising as soon as possible. This will insure that the student's previous work will be coordinated efficiently with ETSU requirements.

If you are a physics major and are interested in becoming a high school physics teacher, there are a number of scholarships and special opportunities that may be of interest to you.  These are listed below.

Generally, ETSU students who want to become high school physics teachers major in physics and minor in education.   Please contact one of the advisors for physics majors Dr. Mark Giroux ( ; 423-439-8684) or Dr. Beverly Smith ( ; 423-439-8418) to discuss this program.   You should also contact an advisor in the Education College about the education minor.   The Education Minor is the standard route to obtaining a teaching certificate for public schools.

For strong students, however, there are some alternative paths that do not require the education minor. These include:

Physics majors may also be able to get a job teaching physics at a private or charter high school without a teaching certificate.   The Carney, Sandoe, and Associates company specializes in job placement for people who are looking for jobs at private or charter schools. Note that there is no cost to submit a resume through their web site. 

It is also sometimes possible to get a job teaching physics or math at a public high school directly after college without the education minor,  by getting a `transitional license'.   For more information about this process in Tennessee, click here.

Here is a link from the Tennessee Dept of Education to a list of all teaching jobs available in Tennessee.

Scholarships and other programs for physics majors wanting to become high school physics teachers include:

Another program that may interest you is the Student Loan Forgiveness Program for students who become teachers.

Two additional special program for people who want to become Physics teachers are:

These both provide substantial stipends/fellowships for new physics graduates to attend graduate programs in education to obtain masters degrees in teaching and teaching certification.
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