Resources for Physics Majors

Several scholarships are available which are specifically designated for physics majors. Some of these are reserved for entering freshmen, others for upperclassmen (rising juniors and seniors), and others may be awarded to any physics major.

To be eligible for any of these scholarships you must submit an application and (in some cases) at least one letter of reference. The deadline for application is December 15; more information about scholarships and the application process is available on the Scholarship Office web site. Recommendations for each of these scholarships is made by the department faculty, based on the student's previous school performance, standardized test scores, the student's letter of application, and on any letters of reference submitted.

Scholarships for Incoming Freshmen

Algood and Elizabeth Carlen Scholarships: Awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences, this scholarship is worth approximately $2500 and is renewable for up to three years if the student meets appropriate criteria. (Additional Carlen scholarships may also be awarded to current students if deemed appropriate.)

The Paul Austin Scholarship: A one-year scholarship which is awarded to an incoming freshmen; it carries a value of approximately $2500. Also awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Frederick L. Culp Physics Scholarship: Established in honor of a former Department Chair, this scholarship is typically valued at about $1000 to $2000; preference is given to an outstanding incoming freshman but current students are also eligible.

Scholarships for Upperclassmen

The Robert L. Shannon Jr. Physics Scholarship: Established in honor of a former graduate, this scholarship is given to a Junior or Senior physics major and carries a value of approximately $1000.

The David P. Murdock Physics Scholarship: Recently established in honor of faculty member who passed away suddenly, this scholarship is also dedicated for upperclassmen with an amount yet to be determined.

Scholarships for all students

Department Scholarships: Supported by faculty and alumni donations these are typically in the range of $500 - $1500 and several are awarded each year to both incoming freshmen and current students.

Honors Scholarship: A scholarship of particular interest to out-of-state students is the Honors Scholarship, which pays out-of-state tuition fees. Out-of-state students having a composite ACT score of 26 or greater may be considered for this scholarship if they participate in the TTU Honors Program. Continued support is contingent upon maintaining sufficiently high academic standing to continue as a member of the Honors Program.

Students who have completed their introductory physics courses are eligible to be employed during the academic year on a part-time basis in various capacities. Though preference is generally given to physics majors, these opportunities are open to all who are suitably qualified.

Laboratory Teaching Assistants: Once students have completed the labs associated with the introductory physics courses, they are eligible to become paid teaching assistants (TAs) in these lab. classes. (Those who did not take their physics courses at TTU will be asked to demonstrate their competence.) Responsibilities of a TA are to prepare for each lab meeting in advance, provide assistance to students in the class while they perform the lab assignments, grade reports, and return them to faculty in a timely manner. (Note that TA experience makes your resume look much stronger when applying for graduate schools or employment.)

Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leaders: In the calculus-based introductory courses we hold supplemental instructional sessions each week. In these sessions student leaders help others work through pre-planned exercises designed to improve their understanding of topics being covered in regular classes. To be selected as an SI leader you must have performed exceptionally in the relevant course and be recommended by a faculty member.

Videographer: Some of the physics education research carried out in the department requires that classes be video recorded and these recordings then analyzed for interesting segments that illustrate various aspects of the class and of student learning. Employment in this capacity requires you to be present throughout each class meeting, and also to spend time reviewing the recordings.

One of the strategic goals of the Department is to involve as many of its majors as possible in research. Most of this activity occurs during the summer months, and the students are paid a stipend for their work. This work can take place on-campus or at various other research facilities. In recent years, students have worked at both Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Sanford Undergraduate Research Facility. With three new faculty members, all active in research, it is likely that more such opportunities will become available very soon. More information on the research being done by the department faculty can be found in the research section section of this site.

There are also numerous summer research programs around the country that are sponsored by the National Science Foundation and for which students can apply on a competitive basis; usually students will need to have taken upper-division physics courses to receive serious consideration for these opportunities.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a national organization for undergraduate physics students; membership is voluntary and open to all interested students. The TTU chapter typically sponsors several activities during the academic year, including social events, student research papers at meetings, seminars by visiting scientists, and various projects designed to increase public awareness of science. We also have a local chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honors society and invite qualified students to join each year.