2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Physics and Astronomy

J. Millis, Chairperson


Physics Major, Physics Teaching, Pre-Engineering Preparation, Astronomy and Minors in Physics, Applied Physics, Astrophysics and Introductory Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers majors in physics, physics teaching, pre-engineering preparation, and astronomy as well as several programs for minors in astronomy and/or physics. For majors, general physics is a course of study for those students who intend to pursue graduate work or industrial careers in physics, astronomy, or engineering. Minors are available in physics, applied physics in electronics, applied physics in nanoscience, astrophysics, and introductory astronomy, and are designed for those students who have an interest in those fields but have a major in another area.

Pre-Engineering Major

The pre-engineering major is generally a five-year program in which students attend Ball State for three years and then transfer to an engineering school to complete requirements for their engineering degree. Upon successful completion of the engineering program, a student is eligible to receive a bachelor’s degree from Ball State in addition to the engineering degree from the other institution. Students in this program are responsible for knowing and meeting the graduation requirements of both Ball State and the school to which they transfer. Admission to Ball State as a pre-engineering major does not guarantee admission to an accredited school of engineering. Electives in the program permit tailoring the program for the wide variety of engineering specialties.

Astronomy Major

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a major in astronomy as well as minors in astrophysics and introductory astronomy. For majors, astronomy gives students many of the same skills as a physicist plus skills like digital image processing, remote sensing and applied spectral analysis. People with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy are qualified for jobs in observatories, planetariums, national laboratories, and the aerospace industry. This degree also prepares a person for graduate study in astronomy, physics, and related fields.

Physics Teaching Major

The Physics Teaching Major is a four-year accredited program that meets the requirements for students to obtain an undergraduate degree with an Indiana secondary physics teaching license. Students in this degree program receive a strong foundation in physics content knowledge, along with courses in educational foundations, educational psychology, multicultural education, secondary education, and science education pedagogy. Students may use this degree and license to teach high school physics or middle school science, but additional science courses are recommended for students who wish to teach middle school science.