Physics Department

Program Description

Physics involves the study of matter and energy and their interaction. Physicists study nature at its most fundamental level and their goal is to understand a tremendous range, from elementary particles to the edge of the visible universe. As a physics student, you will learn the laws of nature and see them in action in mechanics, sound, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics, relativity and quantum theories. Your introduction to physics in small classes at Cottey will prepare you for further study in physics, chemistry, biophysics, astronomy, geology or geophysics, atmospheric science, engineering, medicine or any other STEM field.

Career Opportunities

Perhaps most important to Cottey students today are the skills that studying physics brings to work in the Health Sciences. Critical, logical thinking is central to work in physics and the health sciences. Beyond the Health Sciences, a knowledge of physics is a prerequisite for study in engineering, chemistry, geology, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and engineering. Physics has direct applications in transportation, communication and entertainment technologies, medicine, and environmental science. Many careers that are directly related to physics degrees are based in research and development. Because of this, a Ph.D. is often required; however, many physics majors find careers in areas that are not closely related to their major, but somewhat related. Some of these occupational areas are: engineering including electrical, nuclear, environmental, aerospace, and computer engineering, astronomy, computer programming and systems analysis. Advanced tools and methods that physicists use make sense large amounts of data can also be turned towards areas that also use big data, like Google and Netflix algorithms.

Internship and Directed Study Opportunities

As a physics major, your chances to gain real world learning experiences through internships and directed studies are very important.

Students at Cottey College participate in internships throughout the year with a variety of businesses, organizations, and non-profit agencies. A successful internship provides students with an opportunity to apply their classroom learning to the workplace. Employers and graduate schools agree that students who have put classroom concepts and skills to work in a “real world” environment are more realistic and productive than those who have not.

With the assistance of faculty and the transfer and career planning coordinator, physics majors can find a variety of local and national internship experiences.

Opportunities exist locally to intern with various health care facilities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

Directed study opportunities are available in all disciplines. Under the supervision of faculty, students can pursue academic credit on a topic or project that is related to, but beyond the scope of, regular course offerings. Directed study topics can be tailored to your interests, whether it is conducting individual scientific research, studying girls’ punk music, or conducting advanced computer programming.

Get Involved

Want to have fun and develop your leadership skills and your resume at the same time? Then get involved at Cottey College and in the Nevada community.

Cottey College has more than 35 student clubs and organizations in which to be involved. Plus, the Nevada and surrounding community offer an abundance of service opportunities.

Here are a few activities on campus you might consider pursuing as a physics major: The Engineering Club to work with others and explore the aspects of engineering that inspire you, Explorers Club for the outdoor enthusiast, Students Against a Vanishing Environment (S.A.V.E.) to help preserve the environment, Cottey Computer Club (CCC) to learn more about computers and tecnhology.

Activities off campus include: volunteering at one of the local schools, the parks department, or the Osage Prairie YMCA.

PHY 101
Introductory Physics

Fundamentals and applications of conceptual physics. Descriptive explanation of mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, waves and sound, electricity and magnetism, light, and atomic and nuclear physics. 3 credits

PHY 101L
Introductory Physics Laboratory

Elementary experiments in conceptual physics. 1 credit

PHY 201
General Physics 1

Laws and concepts of mechanics, wave motion, acoustics, and thermodynamics. Emphasizes conservation laws and development of problem-solving ability. 4 credits

PHY 201L
General Physics 1 Laboratory

Data collection,simple error analysis, and graphical representation of data. Experiments in mechanics, heat, and wave motion. 1 credit

PHY 202
General Physics 2

Electricity, magnetism, and optics. 4 credits

PHY 202L
General Physics 2 Laboratory

Experiments in electricity, magnetism, and optics. 1 credit

Faculty Advising

Preparing a class schedule, investigating majors, and researching transfer institutions can be confusing for a firstyear student. At Cottey College, academic advising assists the individual student in clarifying and achieving her educational goals.

Each student is assigned a full-time faculty member as an academic advisor. Together the advisor and student devise a balanced academic program, which encompasses the student’s educational and career ambitions. The advisor reviews all registration decisions, the advisee’s academic progress, and suggests transfer and career options.

This personalized approach to student advising allows the student to take responsibility for her own academic program, while tapping into faculty expertise.

Dr. Peter Hyland
Associate Professor of Physics
Rubie Burton Academic Center 102
(417) 667-8181, ext. 2211

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