How to get my physics department to offer more courses?

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  • #1
ranger
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Our physics department is severely lacking in the courses it offers. What are some ways/methods I can use to get them to offer more courses?

--thanks.
 

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  • #2
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epress interest in taking certain courses, departments would offfer hundreds of courses if there were people who wanted to take them, if you look at the course offerings every year at your school I'd wager there's a few that just don't run because there's no interest.

out of cuirosity how many physics majors are at your school?
 
  • #3
ranger
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Unfortunately our school doesnt have degrees in physics, not even a minor.
 
  • #4
cristo
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I'm from the UK, and so probably my grasp on the whole major/minor system is completely wrong, but I'm puzzled as to how a Physics department doesn't run degrees in Physics!
 
  • #5
ranger
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I think its a worthless department. I've emailed the chairman of the "department" asking him why they dont have degrees or proper courses. Still awaiting his response.
 
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  • #6
ZapperZ
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You see, it isn't just as simple as adding a course just because student demands it.

First of all, a school simply cannot say "OK, we now offer a physics degree". There is a whole process of accredition involved here, and to be able to get accredited, a department must fulfill a number of criteria, including faculty competency. This requires money! There has to be a budget to support a staff that can provide adequate education for a physics major. There has to be ample resources such as library material, laboratory equipments, etc. for a physics major. It isn't a trivial process, nor cheap.

Secondly, if your school does not have a physics degree, then it is obvious that the physics classes being offered is only secondary and simply to fulfill the requirement of other degrees. I would say that people going to your school do NOT want to do physics (or they would have gone elsewhere), so I would guess that you won't get much support from fellow students to add more physics courses.

Thirdly, you can't just ask for a class in, let's say, quantum mechanics, without considering if you have something there that is willing or able to teach the class. Hiring someone again means money. And to what end would having such a class fits the purpose of the school? I mean, they're not putting out physics majors, and all they provide is whatever is required by other majors. They can't simply offer a class just because someone wants it, the same way we at PF simply can't add a sub-forum simply because someone thinks it might be a good idea. There has to be a justification that fits in with the whole picture.

Zz.
 
  • #7
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If your university offers a "special/independent studies" course listed under the department heading, you can work with the department to learn the subjects you wish to learn. If you can get a large enough interest from other students in taking similar topics through the "special/independent studies" option. This would show the school that there is a potential to have enough students to maintain a physics major. Its a thought...
 
  • #8
ranger
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But even offering a minor would take all that effort? They just need to add a few courses. Does this need accreditation? They have more than enough competent staff to handle these courses. I've been looking through the profiles of the physics professors...
 
  • #9
jtbell
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They have more than enough competent staff to handle these courses.
Do those people have free time in their schedules to teach those new courses? You need to take into account whether they are full-time or part-time faculty and whether they have other responsibilities besides teaching. Upgrading faculty from part-time to full-time costs money, as does hiring new staff to take over non-teaching responsibilities.
 
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  • #10
ZapperZ
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But even offering a minor would take all that effort? They just need to add a few courses. Does this need accreditation? They have more than enough competent staff to handle these courses. I've been looking through the profiles of the physics professors...
But you seem to be missing the point here - is there ANY reason to be offering such a thing?

From how I see it, you are at a school where the physics faculty members are there IN SUPPORT of other subject area. Maybe this is for pre-engineering, engineering, etc.. etc.. anything major area that requires physics classes, probably intro physics. So the purpose of their existence isn't to provide a comprehensive physics education, but rather to fulfill the requirement of other areas.

Until that purpose is changed by the school itself (not by the department), there's nothing anyone can do, even with enough manpower, which in itself isn't a sure thing.

Zz.
 

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