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Information For Students
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Sacramento State has been preparing students for graduate school, teaching careers, and industrial employment for over 65 years. Based in Sequoia Hall, overlooking the American River, our students interact closely with faculty members in and out of the classroom. We are committed to your success.
Free physics tutoring is available in the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Tutoring Center. Located in Sequoia Hall 238, the Center is open to all Sac State students in physics and astronomy classes. Physics professors and physics majors voluntarily staff the center with approximately 25 hours per week. To print the most recent schedule of hours in pdf form, please follow the link below. Adode Acrobat Reader is required.
Society of Physics Students, Sacramento State Chapter
The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is the professional society for students of physics and their mentors. It is an international organization with chapters in all fifty states, and in many other countries. The chapter at Sacramento State is a very active within the Department, organizing field trips for members and participating in public outreach events. It has won numerous Outstanding Chapter and Distinguished Chapter Awards.
Our chapter meets on Wednesdays at 12:00 in Sequoia Hall #140. The meetings alternate between “business meetings”, “ice cream socials”, and “Physics and Pizza talks.“
Women in Physics
Women in Physics is a student organization established to provide a platform for discussing issues facing women physicists and to engage the broader community on topics related to Physics.
The Senior Project was added to the Physics curriculum in 2004. It is a requirement for students in our BS program and is an elective option for those in our BA programs.
Our Senior Project course provides a means for student to experience research while still an undergraduate. Many students perform the research under the guidance of our own faculty, but some have been involved with off-campus projects. In recent years projects have involved internationally known facilities such as CERN, Fermilab, NIST, SETI Institute, UC Davis, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, SLAC, Lick Observatory, Las Campanas Observatory, and NASA Goddard Flight Center.
Awards & Scholarships
The Department offers many awards and scholarships each year, the total value of which can exceed $20,000 per year.
Participating in research while an undergraduate is an important part of a physicist's education. The Department recognizes this and offers many opportunities for students to engage in research projects. While many students perform their research under the guidance of our own faculty members, others elect to participate in summer research programs at National Laboratories or other universities.
- SPS Jobs The Society of Physics Students maintains a searchable database for summer research and internship programs.
- NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program A searchable database for undergraduate research at National Laboratories and Universities across the country that are sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
- APS internship and summer opportunities The American Physical Society maintains its own page on internship and summer opportunities, some of which are for graduate students and postdocs.
- NASA has many opportunities for undergraduates, including summer research programs.
Graduate School Information
About half of our graduates pursue graduate studies in Physics, Astrophysics or a related field. While students can be admitted to graduate school having earned any of the Physics degrees we offer, we generally recommend students choose the B.S. in Physics program.
A degree in Physics is incredibly flexible, allowing graduates to enter into many different career paths. After graduation our students have gone on to work as high school physics teachers, to work for Silicon Valley tech companies, the State of California, NASA, among many others, and of course to enter Master's and Ph.D. programs.
Why Sac State?
What is special about studying physics and astronomy at Sacramento State? Well, to start with:
- Small, But Not Too Small: We have small class sizes, but a large variety of physics courses.
- Strong Faculty: Our faculty are dedicated educators and researchers, focused on student success. Educators that are dedicated to the success of their students.
- Reseach and Internship Experience: Many on- and off-campus opportunites add to your educational experience.
- Scholarships: Several scholarships and awards are endowed in our department. They total to thousands of dollars each year.
- Employment Opportunites: Hone your skills as a stockroom assistant or a learning assistant. Classroom teaching experiences are also available.
- Society of Physics Students: Our award winning SPS chapter participates in tutoring, outreach, and social activities on and off campus.
- Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series: Learn about cool new research during weekly seminars by distinguished campus visitors, our faculty, and even our own students.
- Successful Alumni: Our graduates include university professors, business owners, teachers, and researchers at National Laboratories. What will you do with a degree from Sac State?
Advice for Freshmen
Beginning your studies in physics can be a bit of a whirlwind. For many students it is the first time away from home. Students are asked to do much more independent work than when they were in High School. We've prepared some advice to help you once you get here.
Advice for Transfer Students
There are some things you can do to make your transition from the community college to Sacramento State as easy as possible. We've prepared some advice to help you get ready to transfer as a Physics major to Sac State.
You can find application information for Sacramento State at the Admissions website.
Have questions about your preparation and background? Contact the Physics Office to schedule an appointment with a faculty member that can go over your records to help figure out the best classes to take to help you succeed in physics.
Alumni, please consider sharing your post-graduation life with the department. It's a great way to keep up with your classmates and let current and prospective students see some examples of where a Sac State Physics degree can take them.
Physics Major Advising
Sac State Physics majors meet with their advisors every semester prior to registering for classes for the next semester. Some documents are available to help you plan for registration with your advisor.
- Tentative Course Offerings A list of planned courses for the next several academic years
- Degree Requirements A matrix showing which classes are required depending upon your Academic Progam and catalog rights.
- Flowcharts of Major-required Courses A two page flow chart showing the prerequisites for lower and upper division major required courses.