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Opportunities Within the Department

The Physics department encourages students to take advantage of opportunities besides courses. Students may work with professors engaged in research, at Syracuse or other locations, help teach their peers, and work in the demonstration room, to name some of the possibilities. There are also meetings and events organized or coordinated by the local Society of Physics Students Chapter.

Undergraduate Research

Many physicists spend their careers carrying out research, seeking new physical principles, inventing experimental techniques, and simulating physical objects and materials using a computer. Regardless of whether one is going to be a researcher, engineer, teacher, medical professional, or a financial analyst, experience in research prepares people to find new solutions and to try out new methods to arrive at a goal.

The Physics Department at Syracuse University offers students an opportunity to be part of a thriving scientific community. Your activities working in one of our research groups may be the single most valuable component of your undergraduate education. An undergraduate researcher interacts strongly with faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students engaged in related work; he or she joins in research group meetings, research seminars, and departmental colloquia. An undergraduate research project is a genuine distinction which is understood by employers and graduate school admissions officers.

To gain such experience, every undergraduate physics student is encouraged to join a research program.

In the Department of Physics, you can get hands-on experience on a variety of topics that will familiarize you with advanced research techniques and more:

  • experimental particle physics and low-noise analog microelectronics
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • research on the interstellar medium in an astrophysics laboratory
  • solar cells (amorphous silicon)
  • gravitational wave detectors
  • simulation (computation) techniques
  • ideas from cosmology

To identify the program best suited to your interests you can contact any faculty member who is carrying out research in an area you are interested in or contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Students have also travelled to pursue research opportunities, such as Research Experience for Undergraduate Program and even abroad.

For further information, contact a faculty member and follow some of these links:


One opportunity that most Physics Majors take advantage of is the chance to teach. The introductory courses in Physics have lab or workshop sessions, with about 20 or fewer students each. In these small meetings, a graduate teaching assistant and one or more undergraduate instructors guide the students, in groups of two or three, through lab work and exercises. This attention is of course very helpful to the students, but the undergraduate instructors find it to be an instructive and rewarding experience. The peer instructors learn the introductory material much better, preparing them for future courses and graduate admissions exams, and have the experience of working closely with faculty and graduate students. This is a good way to get to know a professor better, also, which can be helpful for future guidance or references. Peer instructors either take a class (PHY399, Practicum and Seminar in Physics Education) or are paid hourly.

Demo Room Work

Behind Stolkin Auditorium is the Syracuse Physics Demonstration Facility. Sam Sampere works there to prepare demonstrations large and small for classroom use and for displays. Sam is often looking for students to help glue, solder, paint, assemble, wheel out, sort, design, or repair demonstration equipment. Please contact Sam if you are interested in working in the "demo room".