Alexander Small, Chair
Jorge Botana Alcalde
Matthew S. Povich
Kurt G. Vandervoort
Medical-breakthrough laser treatments, extrasolar planets and severe climate changes make front-page news every day. Understanding these complex problems with scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills are needed in today’s job market.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Physics and Astronomy department explores the fundamental properties of matter and energy and teaches concepts to understand and appreciate any observed phenomenon. Our curriculum explores the interactions of matter and energy at the deepest levels, from the subatomic to the cosmic.
Our majors learn principles of physics through a curriculum that builds strong quantitative and analytical skills and offers many opportunities for undergraduate research. Students may explore interdisciplinary areas such as biophysics, astrophysics, optics, computational physics and materials science. Physics majors enjoy relatively small upper division classes spanning experimental and theoretical aspects of classical and modern physics. Students engage in cutting-edge research, working closely with faculty in such fields as biophysics, optics, plasma physics, physics education research, astrophysics, and condensed matter physics.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy prepares students for a variety of career paths, including graduate programs in physics, astronomy, engineering and related fields; teacher certification; and research jobs in industry, government, and at national laboratories.
According to the American Institute of Physics (AIP), our department is ranked in the top 1% nationally for number of B.S. degrees in physics, and we are ranked third nationally for number of physics graduates from underrepresented minority groups.
Physics majors who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement have the opportunity to join the honorary society, Sigma Pi Sigma. Additional information concerning membership can be obtained from the Physics and Astronomy Department. We offer three degree options for students:
- The General Physics Option includes theoretical and experimental courses in all areas of physics, and prepares students for a wide range of technical and scientific careers, as well as admission to graduate programs in physics and related fields. Students in this option can choose to do an Emphasis in Astrophysics, if they wish.
- The Integrated Science Option is designed to provide students with a balance of in-depth physics knowledge and quantitative skills alongside a broad education in the other branches of natural science, the history and nature of science, and strong communication skills for a wide variety of careers in education and education policies including secondary math and science teaching.
This option is particularly suited to the needs of students planning a career as a secondary science teacher (either middle school or high school), for whom a Single Subject Credential in science is required. Before entering into a single subject credential program, students must demonstrate subject matter competency by either passing the appropriate state-approved examination (CSET) or completing a state-approved subject matter preparation program in Physics. The Integrated Science Option in the Bachelor of Science in Physics Program enables students to meet these requirements. Prospective teachers are encouraged to contact the Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST) early in their academic programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-869-4063.
- The Biophysics Option is designed to provide students with multidisciplinary preparation for a wide variety of careers and advanced programs of study that involve the application of physical principles to biological and medical problems, including basic and applied research, careers in biomedical and biotechnology industries, professional studies for clinical careers, and science education.
ProgramsBachelorMinorRoadmap: 4-yearRoadmap: 2-year ADT
The semesters in which particular courses are offered are indicated by the F and/or Sp notations. If a course is not given each year, an indication of its offering in odd or even years is given.