FAQ

Whom can I speak with in your department to learn more about the physics major?

Dr. Gerber is currently the Undergraduate Physics Advisor. She would be happy to meet with prospective students. Make an appointment by contacting her at gerber@uic.edu. All members of the Department faculty will be happy to talk to you about physics.

Is there any special application process to declare this major?

You will need a Change/ Declaration Major Form which can be obtained at the department offering the major. The Physics Department address is 2236 SES< 845 West Taylor Ave., Chicago, IL 60607.

Is there a deadline every semester to declare this major?

Students are required to declare a major by the end of their sophomore year (59 semester hours). It is customary for students to devote much of their junior and senior years to advanced courses, independent study, and research work in the major field.

I didn't do well on my first exam - can I complete a project and get extra credit?

Physics courses are designed to teach problem-solving skills utilizing concepts from mathematics and physical principles. The best way to test this is through practice exams, labs, quizzes, and homework. As a rule, physics professors do not offer extra-credit projects. Be sure to ask your professor about practice exams to help in test preparation.

I've been going to class, but there are some concepts I just don't get - where can I find help?

You can find help on any undergraduate-level course from the Physics Department tutors in the Science Learning Center, housed on the west side of SES. Our tutors are physics graduate students and will be available to help you, free of charge, from 9-5 PM Monday - Friday, with the exception of Wednesdays after 3:30 PM, when we have our departmental colloquium.

My professor has office hours, but I'm nervous about going. What should I do?

Our professors love it when you come to office hours! If you can't make the specified office hours, make an appointment, or see if you can find another professor who is teaching the same course - any of them will be happy to help. Also, your TA from your lab and discussion section also offers office hours and will be able to help you with your work.

I'm interested in becoming a physics teacher - who can I talk to about my study plan?

Contact the Physics Department main office to find the best advising option for you. You should definitely talk to both the Physics Department and the College of Education.

I hear about research opportunities, but I'm not sure where to find them. Where do I look?

The Physics Department has research opportunities for undergraduate students year-round, which offer research credit hours and, in some cases, an internship stipend. The best way to get involved is to talk to a professor working in an area you are interested in. More information about research areas and labs can be found under the research lab on this website.

How many students are in the major?

On average we have 45 to 60 majors each semester who have declared either a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelors of Science, or the Bachelors of Science in Teaching of Physics.

What is the difference between a BA and BS in Physics?

Both degrees incorporate a general education requirement of students to take a certain number of elective courses. The BS degree requires some additional advanced courses in Physics than a BA degree, which will deepen your knowledge of physics and make you a stronger candidate for a graduate program in physics.

I need a good place to study. What do you suggest?

Our majors have access to the Physics Undergraduate Study Lounge, which is located in 2286 SES and is open during normal business hours. You may even find your fellow majors there!