Resources for Majors
These resources will help you navigate the physics major at NC State. If you can’t find answers to your questions here, contact your advisor or the physics undergraduate office.
Undergraduate physics majors at NC State can choose from two programs of study.
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in physics is the appropriate choice if you’re planning for graduate study in physics. Example schedule for a physics B.S. major.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) curriculum has a flexible course of study if you desire an interdisciplinary program with an emphasis on physics. Example schedule for a physics B.A. major.
David Brown (Director of Undergraduate Programs) and Betsy Alexieff (College of Sciences Academic Advisor) serve as academic advisors for entering freshmen and transfer students, prior to and during their first semester on campus. Beyond their first semester, students are assigned a faculty member who serves as their academic advisor. Faculty advisors are:
The Department of Physics recognizes the achievement of our undergraduate students through three awards to outstanding seniors, presented at the annual McCormick Symposium:
- Rodney I. McCormick Award for outstanding research
- Wesley O. Doggett Award for outstanding scholarship
- Richard R. Patty Award for outstanding leadership
Each year, the College of Sciences recognizes the achievements of undergraduate students from across the college by presenting awards for Outstanding Research, Community Service, and Scholarly Achievement. The physics department is well represented among the College of Sciences award winners.
CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Society of Physics Students
SPS is a place for undergraduates physics majors, and students with an interest in physics, to come together as one organization. We hold social and academic events for members and arrange fundraisers and community service events in the Raleigh area.
Women in Physics
NC State’s Women in Physics group aims to build a community where we can share expertise and experiences and gain tools and confidence to help us succeed in our educational and professional goals. Whether you are male or female, student or faculty, anybody interested in learning more about the issues facing women in physics and related fields is welcome to be part of this community.
The Physics Department honors program recognizes talented students who go beyond the basic curriculum by participating in independent research projects and advanced physics courses.
Physics majors attain “honors status” prior to graduation by:
- Completing at least two PY courses at the 400 level (excluding PY407) with an average grade of 3.5 or better in these courses.
- Having an overall grade point average at NC State of 3.0 or better.
Students who satisfy these criteria should ask the director of undergraduate programs (DUP) to be granted honors status. Students with honors status are given priority enrollment.
GRADUATION WITH HONORS
Physics majors graduate with physics honors by:
- Completing 3 hours of Independent Research. (PY499 or a substitute approved by the DUP. Paperwork must be on file.)
- Completing 9 hours of physics courses at the 500 level with a B- or better in each. (Courses at the 500 level from other departments can be used with special permission from the honors adviser or DUP.) One 400 level physics course (excluding PY407) taken with the Honors Contract may be substituted for a 500 level course.
- Having an overall grade point average of 3.4 or better.
Students who meet the criteria for graduation with physics honors are awarded a certificate signed by the dean of the College of Sciences. They also receive an honors seal on their diploma, and the designation “Completed Honors Program in Physics” on their permanent transcript.
Most physics majors at NC State become involved in meaningful, cutting edge research by their sophomore or junior years. Students typically arrange a research project by contacting faculty directly and finding out what opportunities are available. Don’t wait to get started!
The Physics Department at NC State offers several merit and need-based scholarships. For more information, see the College of Sciences Student Support page.
Tutoring is available for physics majors’ physics courses through the Physics Tutorial Center in Riddick Hall, Room 319A.
SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR CAREER SEEKING
Both direct feedback from our recent NC State physics graduates and national trends indicate that development of professional skills gives a significant advantage in navigating the scientific world. In order to assist students in gaining these skills, the physics department has developed a list of 5 skills/accomplishments (the “5 item list”) which we believe all students should work to achieve during their undergraduate career. These skills are best developed with practice and sustained effort. Below you will find links and resources that can help you to develop these skills.