Majors and Minors


Physics is the fundamental natural science that explores the basic properties of matter and energy. Physics is relevant to all other sciences: biology, chemistry, geology, and all branches of engineering. The different areas of physics covered in Cleveland State’s undergraduate program include: atomic and molecular physics, solid state physics, nuclear physics, biophysics, material science, optics, waves, electronics, astronomy, and medical physics. The field of physics has been instrumental in the development of advanced materials, electronic and optical devices, and medical equipment. Devices and innovations resulting from physics research include the laser, the microwave oven, LCD and plasma TVs, integrated circuits, computer hardware advances, communication advances, new ways of energy production, and other advances.


Bachelor graduates work as research assistants and technicians. They work in the following industries: electronics, semiconductor, communications, aerospace, instrumentation, software development, engineering, and others. Job titles include: radiation health officer or nuclear technician, optical engineer, applications engineer, component evaluations or electronics specialist, and others. In addition, there are many other fields that require a strong science background, such as patent law and technical sales and service. There is also a high demand for bachelor graduates as physics/science high school teachers (licensure needed).

Over 60 percent of bachelor physicists go on to pursue graduate studies in physics or related fields. Master graduates have careers in applied research and development in industry and government, and teaching positions at community colleges. Specialized master’s programs in physics prepare students for a specific career path, such as CSU’s Medical Physics master’s program, which trains scientists to work in medical centers in radiation therapy. Doctoral graduates assume university faculty positions teaching and directing research, direct research in government labs, or work in high-level positions in industry, directing research.


Click here to see the current academic year's Undergraduate Catalog requirements for the physics major .

NOTE: For official requirements, determine your catalog rights, and go to the undergraduate catalog that matches those rights. (The following requirements are ONLY for students whose FIRST semester at CSU is Fall 2011 or Spring 2012. For students who started BEFORE the 2011-2012 school year AND who have been enrolled during at least one of the past three semesters, including summer, please see your undergraduate catalog).

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.S.) IN PHYSICS: Prepares the graduate for technical careers in industry, research centers and/or graduate studies.

BACHELOR OF ARTS (B.A.) IN PHYSICS: Prepares the graduate for careers in applied physics, computer science, education, medicine, law, technical sales, scientific journalism or other fields requiring analytical skills and a broad understanding of physics. The B.A. curriculum replaces the advanced physics courses required in the B.S. degree with designated science electives. Students in Engineering or Computer and Information Science can earn a B.A. in Physics as an additional degree with a modest increase in course requirements.

Secondary Teacher Licensure Track: Available in either the B.S. or B.A. program, but is more common with the B.A. program. Students interested in teaching high school physics/science should contact the physics advisor for science course requirements and the Education Student Service Center for the education course requirements.

An Honors Program is available for students in the B.S. in Physics program. The program is for qualified students interested in research careers and pursuing graduate studies in physics. Engaged learning experiences (for all programs) include inquiry-based physics laboratory courses, research experience with nationally recognized CSU faculty, and co-op and internship opportunities. A physics minor requires 18 credit hours of specified physics courses. Evening B.A. and B.S. physics degrees are also available. All students receive individual advising.

General Education Requirements: All degree-seeking students are required to meet general education requirements. Students are responsible for ensuring that courses chosen satisfy these requirements and are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor. A comprehensive description of the requirements is available online at

For more information, contact:
Department of Physics
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue, SI 112
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Phone: 216.687.2425


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