Physics 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. 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. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
B.S. Physics: Astrophysics Concentration
The astrophysics program will allow you to find answers to questions about the universe and give you the tools to ask questions that have never been asked before. Past students have attended astronomy meetings, collaborated with faculty on research projects, and collected data at McDonald Observatory in west Texas. 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. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
B.S. Physics: Condensed Matter Physics Concentration
The goal of condensed matter physics is to understand the governing mechanism on the micro scale for physical properties of condensed matter observed on the macro scale. It also attempts to demonstrate how knowledge can benefit our society — control of microstructure can lead to materials and devices with desired properties/functions. With this concentration, students are expected to be comfortable with the language of condensed matter, specialized terms and key theories. Students also are expected to be able to read and understand research papers in related fields. With this concentration, students will be well positioned when they compete for jobs in the industry. Condensed matter physics is the most popular field in physics graduate study. This program is only offered at the Clarion campus.
B.S. Physics: Cooperative Engineering Concentration
A student in this program attends Clarion for three years and Case Western Reserve University or the University of Pittsburgh for two years. Upon successful completion of the program the student is awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, chemistry, or mathematics from Clarion and a B.S. degree in engineering from the engineering school. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
Minor in Environmental Sustainability
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. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
Minor in Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology seeks to understand and manipulate materials down to the nanometer scale (one billionth of a meter). Nanotechnology has the potential to change every part of our lives. Scientists are currently working to develop products in electronics, environment and energy, health care and medicine. The nanotechnology minor will give you the knowledge base and skills necessary to contribute to this exciting and rapidly expanding field. This program is offered only at the Clarion campus.
Minor in Physics
This minor is open to students, who seek to understand the physical world at greater depth. Generally speaking, the minor is completed by taking three courses in physics beyond the first-year sequence. By adding physics to your toolbox, you demonstrate to future employers and graduate schools that you enjoy intellectual challenges and excel at applied mathematics and creative problem solving. This minor is offered only at the Clarion campus.