About the Program
Purdue physics is an internationally recognized department for excellence in forefront research and undergraduate and graduate education. Our undergraduate classes for physics majors average 30 or fewer students and are taught by professors actively engaged in forefront research. Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged and opportunities exist as early as the second semester to work in a research group. These groups include experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, high energy physics, nano-physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics, biological physics, geophysics, relativity, and interdisciplinary areas of material science, engineering, or computational science.
The department also helps undergraduates with external internships, particularly for the summers. Upon graduation our students are accepted for graduate programs at many of the top universities and are also sought after for positions in industry, particularly high-tech positions. Our graduates have an exceptional record of career accomplishment in a wide variety of settings, including academia and major industrial and government labs.
The honors program offers an intensive concentration in physics that provides a solid foundation for advanced studies. Successful graduates of this challenging program are recognized for both the depth and breadth of their physics education, and they have gone on to the premier graduate schools in the country and, ultimately, to many different career choices.
The honors program provides a solid theoretical and experimental background in mechanics, electromagnetism, waves and oscillations, thermal physics, quantum mechanics, and the micro-structure of matter.
A very important feature of this plan is a senior research project (PHYS 59300) with a written report in some area of modern physics, such as condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics, biophysics, geophysics, etc. Students receive individual supervision and guidance from a faculty member whose specialty matches the area of their research project. PHYS 593 introduces students to the type of research atmosphere they later might encounter as professional physicists, and it promotes self-motivation and independence in their work.
The Honors Program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy begins in the Junior Year. All physics majors typically start by taking PHYS 172H and 272H as freshmen. Students from other majors who have taken PHYS 172/272 may switch into the Honors Physics major. Admission to, and continuation in, the honors program requires that all the core courses (PHYS 17200, 27200, 30600, 30700, 34400, 34000, and 42200) be complete with a B or better, or special permission from the Physics Undergraduate Committee.
The following stipulations need to be met in order to be in, stay in and graduate in the Honors or Applied Honors Program:
- No D+ or worse grade is allowed in any course for a student to stay in the Honors Programs.
- No more than one C range grade is allowed in all physics courses taken for a student to graduate with Honor. Note that a course can be re-taken for the purpose of satisfying this guideline.
- Both the physics AND overall GPAs of 3.0 or better are required for a student to graduate with Honor.
- All the core courses (PHYS 17200, 27200, 30600, 30700, 34400, 34000, and 42200) be complete with a B or better.
- Students need to petition to Undergraduate Committee for exceptions or requests.