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Plasma Physics colleges in or around PA?

  1. Jun 12, 2008 #1
    Hello all,

    Are there any such major as for Plasma Physics or Plasma is just an option? What are the different types of Physics minus Astronomy? Is astrophysics part astronomy and part physics? If so we can forget about astrophysics. What are some good public not private colleges for physics in or around the PA area? Thank you for any replies.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2008 #2


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    Based on your question I'm guessing you're still in high school. If that's the case, keep in mind that for an undergraduate education, it's best not to specialize too much - at least not at first. Key things to look for are schools that have larger physics departments (which generally means more opportunities and more exposure to the different fields), professors that have won teaching awards, undergraduate organizations like physics social clubs, or undergraduate project clubs, a larger variety of courses at the senior level, and students that attend and/or organize conferences.

    Plasma physics is a sub-field that you would specialize in at the graduate level. It deals with matter in the plasma state and so it's often interconnected with astrophysics and space physics. I wouldn't be too keen on majoring in it if you found that offered anywhere at the undergraduate level.

    Astrophysics is kind of a broad term. While it's often used interchangably with astronomy, astronomy is really more about the observational aspects of studying the universe whereas astrophysics deals more with modeling the evolution of different elements within the universe - stars, black holes, galaxies, etc.
  4. Jun 12, 2008 #3
    Thank you for your reply. No I am not in High School or anything right now. Just planning what I should study for. Is Engineering Physics for undergraduate? If so what colleges would offer that in Pennsylvania?

  5. Jun 12, 2008 #4
    What you can do is go to a college that does plasma physics research so that you can try and do plasma physics research as an undergrad, which might help you when applying for grad school in plasma physics.
  6. Jun 12, 2008 #5
    Do they have Plasma as a major and not research? I don't know of any colleges in PA that offers it. I don't know any college that has Physics at all.

  7. Jun 12, 2008 #6
    Most colleges have a physics major. Thinking of all the colleges that I can name in Pennsylvania, I don't know of a single one that doesn't have a physics program. Why don't you find a list of the public universities in the area first, and then go from there? I don't think anyone here is going to make that list for you.
  8. Jun 13, 2008 #7
    Plasma physics is really a graduate study area, so I would be very surprised if any college offered it as a major, especially because its a pretty small area of physics (unless you count Astrophysics as plasma physics). I'm thinking more along the lines of earthly uses for plasma. The majority of schools will let you take graduate level courses as an undergrad though, so there is nothing stopping you from majoring in physics and taking all the graduate level plasma physics courses you can.
  9. Aug 2, 2008 #8
    Don't lie php111....Both PSU and UPenn are in PA and they have strong Physics program.
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