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Clarion University’s academic structure has recently been reorganized. The information on these pages is valid for students who began their degrees prior to fall 2014.

For students looking for information about degrees in the new academic structure, it can be found on the college web pages:

College of Arts, Education and Sciences
College of Business Administration and Information Science
Venango College

For students seeking information about degree programs prior to fall 2014, it is available in the 2013-15 Undergraduate Catalog or in the 2013-15 Graduate Catalog.

A new catalog reflecting the reorganized academic structure will be available this fall. Curricular questions should be directed to your academic advisor.

Clarion University PlanetariumPhysics is the science of matter, energy, and motion. It encompasses everything in nature from the behavior of the fundamental building blocks of matter to the large-scale evolution of the universe, galaxies, and black holes. Technological breakthroughs such as superconductivity, nanotechnology, and lasers would not have been possible without physics and physicists who have learned to use their knowledge of basic physical laws in novel and creative ways. At Clarion University, students will gain appreciation for nature by using the scientific method of investigation, and learn to effectively communicate their ideas both orally and in written form.

Our small student-to-faculty ratio allows for greater one-on-one instruction. Current faculty at Clarion University specialize in astrophysics, plasma physics, materials physics, nanotechnology, and energy sustainability. Graduates from Clarion University pursue a variety of careers or go on to earn advanced degrees in physics, engineering, medicine, or related fields. Some of our students choose to take advantage of our cooperative engineering program with the University of Pittsburgh and Case Western Reserve University, while others choose to apply their major to our highly successful program in secondary education.

The physics department also offers a concentration in astrophysics and minors in nanotechnology and environmental sustainability.


Physics (B.S.); Physics (B.S. – Astrophysics concentration) Outcomes

  1. The student will demonstrate a scientific knowledge of the core physics principles in Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Modern Physics, and Optics.

  2. The student will determine the appropriate level of technology for use in: a) experimental design and implementation, b) analysis of experimental data, and c) numerical and mathematical methods in problem solutions.

  3. The student will effectively communicate their knowledge of physics from basic concepts to specific detailed presentations through a variety of oral, written, and computational modalities.

  4. The student will demonstrate a purposeful knowledge of scientific literature and ethical issues related to physics.


In addition:

(Cooperative Engineering concentration only): The student will demonstrate the ability to integrate scientific principles into real-world problems in engineering school.

(Astrophysics concentration only): The student will present detailed knowledge of astrophysical phenomena, research procedures, and associated skills specifically involved in astrophysical research.


PHYSICS, B.S. – 66 credits
Required: PH 258, 268, 259, 269, 351, 352, 353, 354, 371, 372, 461 and four additional physics courses at the 300-level or higher. In addition to these courses in physics, the following are required: MATH 270, 271, 272, 350; CHEM 153, 163; and three other courses selected from the sciences, mathematics, or computer science, not including physics.

Certification for grades K-12, Physics (see Secondary Education Physics).

Required: PH 258, 268, 259, 269, 301, 302, 351, 353, 354, 355, 356, 371, 461 and one course at the 300-level or higher. In addition to these courses in physics, the following are required: MATH 270, 271, 272, 350; CHEM 153, 163, 154, 164; and ES 201. Also take two of the following three courses: ES 200, ES 150, CPSC 201. This concentration is designed for physics students who are interested in applying the underlying principles of physics to the planets, stars, and galaxies. It is appropriate for all physics majors and strongly recommended for students planning to attend graduate school in either astronomy or astrophysics.


PHYSICS, MINOR 25 credits
Required: (PH 251, 252) or (PH 258, 259, 268, 269), MATH 270 and 271, and three additional science courses at the 300 level or higher. Note that some mathematics and physics courses are prerequisites or co-requisites of some of the upper level classes. The minor in physics is designed for students from other science disciplines like biology, chemistry, and mathematics who wish to see the interrelations of matter and energy at a higher level than provided in the introductory courses.

Required: (PH 251, 252) or (PH 258, 268, 259, 269), PH 254, 270, and three additional physics courses at the 300 level or higher. These three courses may be selected from the list of approximately 20 courses appearing on the minor's checksheet. The minor in nanotechnology is designed for students from all disciplines in science and mathematics who wish to know more about the revolutionary breakthroughs in physics that allow scientists to organize and manipulate atter at the atomic scale. The minor in nanotechnology prepares students to perform interdisciplinary research on the biological, chemical, environmental, and mathematical aspects of nanoscience.

Required: PH 261, BIOL 202, BIOL 405, and three courses from the list of sustainable science and policy courses on the minor's checksheet. Sustainability is society's ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own needs. This interdisciplinary minor focused on sustainability is designed to give both science and non-science students the opportunity to study complex environmental concerns and to synthesize the analytical skills of scientific disciplines with the policy skills necessary to solve real-world environmental problems.

The cooperative engineering programs in various fields of engineering, other than chemical and petroleum engineering, are also administered by the Physics Department.