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Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Study

Physics offers curricula leading to the Bachelors of Science (B.S.) degree in Physics, Bachelors of Science (B.S.) degree in Physics - Science Teaching Specialization and minors in Physics and Nuclear Engineering.

B.S. Degree in Physics

The curriculum in physics is built around a strong foundational core of physics courses complemented by courses from other science and engineering departments. Physics majors choose one of four elective groups (or tracks) that can accommodate a wide range of student interests. Students interested in a professional physics career, industrial research and development, graduate school in physics, engineering, medical school, secondary physics education, meteorology and a multitude of related areas that are well served by the physics major.

B.S. Degree in Physics, Science Teaching Specialization

The science teaching specialization curriculum prepares students for a career teaching science at the middle and high school levels. This degree is NCATE accredited and along with satisfactory performance on required Praxis examinations satisfies State of South Dakota requirements for science teaching endorsement.

Check out course descriptions and program requirements for the Physics major by clicking below.

Elective Groups

Professional and Applied Physics

Prepares students for a career as a professional physicist, research scientist or for technical work in the applied sciences. It is an excellent choice for those intending to pursue employment or graduate study in the sciences and/or engineering disciplines upon graduation.

Medical/Health Physics

Prepares students who have career objectives in health physics, medical physics or other areas of physics applications in the biological sciences. It is the preferred choice for pre-medicine students desiring post-graduate study in medical school.

Flexible Emphasis

Prepares students for non-traditional physics careers that require good grounding in the physical sciences. Students choosing this group work closely with an assigned adviser to create a coherent plan of study that is approved by the Head of the Physics Department. Many non-traditional emphasis areas are potential candidates for this group. Examples include: Science Journalism, Biophysics, Pre-Law, Chemical Physics, Digital Electronics, Financial Physics, Military Careers, etc.

Check out course descriptions and program requirements in the Online Catalog.

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Undergraduate Minors

Physics Minor

Many students majoring in engineering, science and/or other professional disciplines would be well served to obtain additional training in Physics which is the foundational discipline for most of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical) fields. Students desiring to add additional valuable physics background and experience to their major should consider the 17-hour minor in Physics.

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Nuclear Engineering Minor

The Physics Department coordinates an 18-hour minor in Nuclear Engineering that serves to provide nuclear science education to produce “nuclear-savvy” engineers and scientists. This minor while designed for the Physics, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering majors can be obtained by other interested students. Students interested in both engineering and nuclear science should strongly consider a career that utilizes training in both fields. Nuclear Engineering is a broad multidisciplinary field that offers rewarding careers related to nuclear power, health physics, medical physics, nuclear and particle physics, and industrial applications such as sterilization of medical products or food irradiation. If you have questions about the minor, please contact Dr. Robert McTaggart, Coordinator for Nuclear Engineering.