Physics Department Mission Statement

The central mission of the undergraduate program in Physics is to teach students how Physicists measure, describe and explain natural phenomena through scientific investigation and critical thinking. Students learn concepts in Physics, quantitative methods for analyzing data and developing theoretical insights, computational, and experimental techniques for testing theoretical predictions and discovering new phenomena. The study of diverse applications as well as elegant theoretical formalisms reveals Physics to be an exciting and highly rewarding discipline that has important connections to other sciences, engineering disciplines, and societal goals.

The Department of Physics offers educational opportunities consistent with the broad principles of the College of Sciences. The undergraduate program for students pursuing a bachelor's degree in Physics provides a solid and challenging education and prepares them to excel in diverse career paths in which independent thinking, analytical skills, and experimental skills are useful. These paths include graduate or professional school, industrial research, and education— not just in Physics, but in other scientific, engineering, social, and professional fields.

The department offers several options for students with varying interests. Students can also take a track in which they study basic Physics, math and chemistry in preparation to transfer to an engineering program at another institution. EIU students have gone on to enjoy success at many engineering programs, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and Missouri University of Science and Technology. The personal touch with small class sizes and individualized attention helps students succeed in whatever direction they choose after leaving EIU.

For non-majors taking introductory Physics as a part of their liberal arts requirements, the courses develop physical concepts and intuition along with the laboratory work and problem-solving skills required to succeed in their chosen course of study. Specific service courses for certain majors, as well as general education courses, both emphasize the core features of the Physicist's perspective of the natural world. A wide variety of topics covered in the introductory Physics courses help to develop a conceptual understanding of topics of general interest. All Physics courses encourage students to appreciate the relevance of Physics and integrate it in their everyday lives and in their future professions.