What's Different about Fredonia?
"The Physics Department with its small classes and excellent teachers provided me with a fantastic background for a career as a scientist. The smallness of the department allowed me to get to know and work directly with the faculty that would not have been possible at a larger university."
Fredonia has an unusually strong physics program for an undergraduate college. A 1995 comparative study of physics departments shows Fredonia as sixth in the nation among non-Ph.D. granting institutions in the number of graduating majors. This "critical mass" of students, combined with a highly dedicated and accessible faculty provides a winning combination for student success. Unlike large research institutions, there are no large lecture courses at Fredonia. Introductory courses are in the range of 25-50 students (halved for recitation sections). Upper level courses range from 8-18 students. All courses in the physics major, including labs, are taught by professors, not TA's. Professors know each student individually and there is a lot of opportunity for one-on-one interaction, ranging from extra help in office hours, advising for courses and careers, independent study, and research. The Fredonia program provides a lot of options in addition to the traditional BS program in physics. Students can combine physics and engineering through 3-2 and 4-2 cooperative engineering programs, through which students receive a physics degree from Fredonia and an engineering degree (either bachelors or masters) from one of 14 affiliated institutions. Other popular options are Mathematics-Physics and Geophysics. It is also possible to combine physics with a computer science minor or major. Fredonia graduates have traditionally done very well in finding good jobs and succeeded in graduate school in a variety of disciplines, including medicine and law as well as physics and engineering.
The Department of Physics has five full-time faculty, all holding the doctorate, and three part-time faculty. Specialties include Atomic Physics, Computational Physics, Quantum Theory, Elementary Particle Physics, Cosmology, Theoretical and Experimental Solid State Physics, Positron Physics, and Electronics. The department is actively engaged in significant research: since 1984, 56 manuscripts have been published in major international refereed journals and over 70 papers have been presented at conferences. In many cases students have assisted in faculty research.
Significant numbers of students are engaged in research or independent study projects with professors. Students are encouraged to present the results of their research at regional physics conferences. An active physics club engages in research projects and outreach activities, as well as going on field trips and attending conferences. Recent club projects have involved magnetic levitation, holography, robotics, and construction of physics demonstrations such as a Reubens' Flame Tube, and a Peltier-cooled cloud chamber.
Information on Graduates
In conclusion, physics graduates are participating in creative ventures with tremendous rewards. The Department of Physics is proud of these achievements. We are looking forward to hearing from you!