Program Learning Goals and Outcomes

The Department has formulated three broad educational goals for the undergraduate degree programs:

Physics knowledge. To provide students with the basic foundation in physics and astronomy, the scientific method (especially the interplay of theory and experiment), and to motivate scientific enthusiasm and curiosity and the joy of learning.

Problem solving skills. To provide students with the tools needed to analyze problems, apply mathematical formalism and experimentation, and synthesize ideas.

Employment and technical skills. To provide the students with technical skills necessary for successful careers in physics/astronomy and related fields (goal for B.S. degrees) or alternative careers for which a physics foundation can be very useful (goal of B.A. degree). These include mathematics, computers, electronics and devices, and communication skills (oral and written).

The specific Student Learning Outcomes that are assessed by instructors of the 300-400 level classes that form the core of our major programs are (some are not relevant to certain classes):

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of concepts of physics
  • Students will show understanding of the interplay between theory and experiment
  • Students will exhibit curiosity and enthusiasm for learning science
  • Students will demonstrate an ability to analyze problems
  • Students will successfully carry out experiments to arrive at scientific results
  • Students will successfully apply computing tools to problems
  • Students will communicate well, orally and in writing, in a scientific context
  • Students will be able to use laboratory devices and electronics in scientific applications