January 12, 2004
UCSC offers new degree in applied physics
By Tim Stephens
UCSC is offering a new major leading to a B.S. degree in applied physics,
designed to prepare students for careers in industry.
The department created the applied physics option because
most physics students end up making their careers in applied areas,
said David Dorfan, professor and chair of physics.
The other options offered for undergraduates by the Department of
Physics are a physics degree, which focuses on preparing students for
graduate study in physics, and an astrophysics degree.
The department created the applied physics option because most physics
students end up making their careers in applied areas, said David Dorfan,
professor and chair of physics.
"This program will provide outstanding preparation for students
wishing to obtain a broad scientific background for entering a fast-changing
technological environment," Dorfan said.
According to statistics from the American Institute of Physics, about
70 percent of graduates with bachelor's degrees in physics are employed
in industry. Dorfan estimated that about half of the students who graduate
from UCSC with bachelor's degrees in physics go directly to work for
technology companies. Others may go on to earn a master's degree in
engineering. And even among those who pursue graduate degrees in physics,
most eventually work in industry, he said.
The new applied physics major differs from the physics major in some
of its requirements, such as courses in computer science and chemistry.
It also offers students greater flexibility to take courses in applied
areas of interest. In addition to applied physics courses offered by
the Physics Department, courses in engineering, chemistry, and biology
can fulfill the major's elective requirements.
The Physics Department has begun admitting students to the new major
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