OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]
Physics Major (B.S. in Physics) [offered through Honors Tutorial College]
Major Code BS1905
Honors Tutorial College
35 Park Place
Athens, OH 45701
David Drabold, director of studies/contact person
The Honors Tutorial Bachelor of Science program in physics (offered by the Physics and Astronomy Department) provides unique opportunities for exceptional students. The physics major begins with a solid foundation in classical and modern physics leading to deeper study in more specialized areas including quantum mechanics, thermodynamcs, nuclear and elementary particle physics, and condensed matter physics. At the heart of the program is the tutorial, in which the student studies selected material under the guidance of a faculty member acting as tutor. At individual weekly meetings the student and tutor discuss the weekly reading, solutions to problems, and other assignments. Tutorials continue through all four years of the program, with the senior year devoted to research for a thesis. Students typically spend one-semester to one-third of their total time (and academic credit) in tutorials, the rest being in laboratories or in other required or elective classes. Because the Honors Tutorial College has no specific general education (or “distribution”) requirements, students are free to create unique courses of study in subjects outside their major fields according to personal taste.
Physics students are strongly encouraged to gain experience as research assistants, either in the Physics and Astronomy Department’s laboratories or through temporary internships at other universities, research centers, or national labs. Research work usually begins in the third or fourth year, though opportunities can sometimes arise earlier, and often becomes the basis of the student’s senior thesis. Research opportunities are available in the Department in the following areas:
- Condensed Matter and Surface Science: creating, studying, and simulating the properties of existing or new substances, such as thin magnetic films, semiconductors and glasses.
- Nuclear and Particle Physics: investigating how the basic building blocks of matter interact with each other, and how they combine to form the elements we know.
- Biophysics: using experimental techniques and computer modeling to understand processes in living systems, including cell adhesion and interacting neurons.
In addition, advance students interested in teaching can sometimes be given paid appointments as teaching assistants.
Students are selected by the Honors Tutorial College and the Physics and Astronomy Tutorial Board on the basis of superior ability and sustained motivation. The faculty look for good scores on standardized tests (30 composite score on the ACT or a combined score of 1300 on the SAT), but are also interested in a strong high school record (grade point average and class standing). The personalized aspects of the tutorial system occasionally make it possible to accept students who have performed less well on standardized measures of ability but who demonstrate exceptional aptitude in other ways. The priority deadline for application for admission is November 15th, and admission interviews are held in January.
Change of Program Policy
First-year students at Ohio University may apply to transfer into the tutorial programs offered by Physics and Astronomy Department and the Honor Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirements as entering HTC freshman. The priority deadline for application for admission is November 15th.
Students in the HTC astrophysics or HTC engineering physics programs who wish to change to HTC physics should contact the director of studies for the HTC physics program.
External Transfer Admission
First-year students at another institution may also apply to transfer into the tutorial programs offered by the Physics and Astronomy Department and the Honors Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirement as entering HTC freshmen. The priority deadline for application for admission is November 15th.
Opportunities Upon Graduation
Recipients of the B.S. degree in physics possess high-level problem-solving skills that can lead to opportunities for employment in research institutions, government, industry, or teaching. This degree also prepares students for graduate study in astrophysics and related fields.