Physics and Engineering Physics - The University of Tulsa

Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences. From the large questions such as dark energy and the origin of the universe, to the science underlying solar cells, the GPS in the car, and that iPhone in your pocket, the importance of physics is readily apparent.

Physics majors obtain a solid foundation in physics and mathematics in preparation for a technical or scientific career. Our students can study theoretical topics in fields such as astrophysics and general relativity, quantum mechanics, and condensed matter physics, as well as gain experimental experience in fields such as nanotechnology, optics, lasers or solid-state physics.

Engineering Physics majors receive the professional, multidisciplinary, ABET-accredited, engineering education that is in strong demand by today’s industries. Instruction from both physicists and professional engineers incorporate engineering standards and realistic constraints to prepare our students for careers in industry, government, and higher education, while instilling a desire for lifelong learning.

Students are encouraged to join TU’s local chapter of the Society of Physics Students, and those with outstanding academics are selected for membership in the organization’s honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma.

  • Sigma Pi Sigma Student Organization

    Sigma Pi Sigma honors outstanding scholarship in physics, encourages interest in physics among students at all levels, promotes an attitude of service of its members toward their fellow students, colleagues, and the public, and provides a fellowship of students who have excelled in physics. Sigma Pi Sigma’s mission includes the four dimensions of honor, encouragement, service, and fellowship along with a permanent goal of professional achievement and career success.

    The Society of Physics Students was formed in 1968 with the union of Sigma Pi Sigma and the AIP Student Sections. Today, Sigma Pi Sigma is housed within the SPS.

    Founded in 1921, Sigma Pi Sigma is a member honor society of the Association of College Honor Societies. With 75,000 historical members, election to the organization is a lifetime membership.

    Sigma Pi Sigma chapters are restricted to colleges and universities of recognized standing that offer a strong physics major. Membership involves undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, and a few others in closely related fields. Students elected to membership must attain high standards of general scholarship and outstanding achievement in physics.

    Certain high numerical standards for admittance are established by chapter bylaws and the national constitution. Undergraduate candidates must be in the upper one-third of their class in general scholarship to meet the minimum standard that chapters may use. A higher minimum average is often established for physics courses. Undergraduate candidates must have completed at least three semesters of full-time college work and at least three semester courses in physics that can be credited toward a physics major. Graduate students and faculty members may be elected at any time. Students who are not physics majors can be elected, provided that they meet the standards and demonstrate an interest in physics.

    For more information, please contact:
    Scott Holmstrom
    Associate Professor of Physics
    Keplinger Hall L126

  • Alumni

    Our physics and engineering physics graduates receive a strong foundation in their particular major but, just as importantly, they also learn how to think. This places them in high demand as flexible problem solvers. After earning their undergraduate degree, many alumni pursue advanced degrees in physics, engineering or multidisciplinary programs (such as nanotechnology or material science). The high acceptance rate into law and medical schools of physics graduates has led others to successful professional careers.  Many of our students begin their careers at some of the country’s top companies including Google, Intel, Caterpillar, Lockheed and ConocoPhillips. Others choose positions in government such as the U.S. Armed Forces or Federal National Laboratories.

  • Outreach

    Our department also has a long history of educational outreach to the public. Our faculty have conducted many state-funded workshops to train K-12 educators in teaching science and math and have hosted other events such as fun and educational physics shows. The TU Physics Journal Club, often cited as TU’s most successful outreach program, draws well over 100 physics aficionados monthly to discuss the latest progress in physics.

  • Apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Physics (SURPP)

    SURPP is a formal program available to current undergraduate and entering freshman in physics and engineering physics. Under this program, students work with a faculty member in physics on a topic of research from the day after Memorial Day to the last Friday on July. Student currently not enrolled at TU are not eligible. Apply.