Physics & Astronomy Department Learning Opportunities
MSUM's Physics & Astronomy Department has outstanding facilities, which include a nanotechnology and robotics lab, a student-built NMR machine, the Paul P. Feder Observatory Regional Science Center and the Planetarium. Physics students have 24/7 access to department labs. Students augment their studies by participating in the MSUM Society of Physics Students, which provides opportunities for networking and learning from guest lecturers and educational trips.
As part of your Physics degree, you’ll complete a senior project involving experimental and/or theoretical research on a physics topic, which will include extensive library research, a detailed written report and an oral presentation. Recent senior projects include:
- Tracking the Changes in Epistemological Beliefs in General Physics Students
- Imaging of Collagen-I Binding with MMP-I Using Atomic Force Microscopy
- Electromagnetic Coil Gun
- The Study of the Magnus Effect
- Modeling and Testing a Seismic Accelerator
- Maximum Muscle Work for Increasing Load and Stance
Plus many more fascinating topics!
Research experience positively impacts your job marketability, as well as applications for advanced research in graduate programs. Faculty mentors are able to write informed and enthusiastic letters of recommendation if you have conducted research in their lab.
MSUM's Field Experience is committed to providing exceptional early and ongoing field experiences in education for teacher candidates. We collaborate with school partners in planning, implementing, and assessing each experience. Teacher candidates will have opportunities for a wide array of experiences by the time they have completed their education programs.
While internships aren’t a requirement of your degree, they are a great way to gain hands-on experience in your specific area of interest. You can earn up to 12 credits for your internship. Internship opportunities include Sanford Health, Appareo, Micron and John Deere, among others.
The Physics and Astronomy Department offers you the opportunity to be a Learning Assistant for courses you have already taken. It’s a competitive selection process and a privilege that not only deepens your topic knowledge but provides valuable experience communicating science and strengthening your teaching skills.
You have the opportunity to help run outreach activities for the public and K-12 students. Whether helping present sound and light activities to elementary students, circuits with middle school students or robotics with high school students, you will gain skills communicating to others about science. You can also help with a variety of events like Science Olympiad, Science Fair and Expanding Your Horizons. In addition, the Society of Physics Students develops and performs a yearly physics demonstration show for the public.
Faculty and students alike not only attend local, regional and national conferences, they also participate by presenting their research. All of our students present at MSUM’s Student Academic Conference. Other recent opportunities where students have attended and presented include:
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant provides scholarships and internships for talented science and math undergraduates. Interns work with our partners, including Fargo and Moorhead Public School Districts and Lakes Country Service Cooperative, to assist in the delivery of summer opportunities for K-12 students in the subjects of science and math. Scholars will receive up to three years of forgivable loans and partial living expenses to pursue secondary licensure in mathematics or science (physics, chemistry, earth or life science) in the state of Minnesota. Scholars will also receive special training in best practices for teaching science and math to English language learners (ELL), have the opportunity to attend regional and national conferences, and be part of a mentoring network. Scholars agree to teach in a high needs school district upon receiving licensure, providing invaluable service to the diverse K-12 students and numerous districts in our region.
Sigma Pi Sigma is MSUM’s physics honors society, which usually holds an annual induction ceremony in the spring for physics honors. (Sigma Pi Sigma chapter number 306 was originally chartered as the Tri-College University Chapter on April 30, 1973).
MSUM’s Society of Physics Students (SPS) is consistently honored and recognized as a Distinguished Chapter from SPS National. This active student organization enjoys a seven-year streak for national awards won by physics students. The group is committed to physics-related outreach in the form of physics demonstrations designed to educate and entertain students and the general public, specifically the annual Halloween show and the SPS Demo Show. They also provide a supportive peer network; facilitate tours and field trips; sponsor guest speakers; and arrange and fund conference participation.