Oct 27, 2021  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Schools


Engineering Technology and Applied Science Building, Room 300P | (501) 569-8000 |fax (501) 569-8020 | ualr.edu/physics

Chairperson: AlShukri, Haydar,
Professors: Chen, Tarpin
Hathaway, Charles E.;
Karabacak, Tansel
Associate Professors: Adams, Alois J.,
Hall, Tony A
Assistant Professors: Guisbiers, Gregory
Nichols, John
Instructor: Blanton, Miles
Advanced Instructor: Crawshaw, Steven A.,

The department offers two degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Science degree prepares students for admission to graduate work in physics or astronomy. This degree provides the skill set to be applied to a variety of careers, including industrial and academic settings. Students desiring a career in astronomy normally major in physics.

The Bachelor of Arts degree is suitable for premedical students and others who do not plan professional careers in physics, including those students pursuing a career in education. Minors are also offered in physics and astronomy.

The department uses a vast assortment of specialized equipment, including a 12-inch (on-campus) and 24-inch (off-site) remote, computer-controlled telescopes. Other resources used by the department include Atomic Layer Deposition, X-ray Diffractometers, Spectrometers, Molecular Beam Epitaxy, and Laser Ablation devices to create and characterize nanostructures and solar cell materials. These devices give students the opportunity to utilize state-of-the-art equipment and techniques as part of their Physics education.

General Information

The department has active research programs in astronomy, astrophysics, condensed matter physics, material science, nanoscience and nanotechnology, optics, and solid-state physics. The department has advanced research facilities for condensed matter physics, solid state, and nanoscience and nanotechnologies research. A state-funded nanotechnology research center on campus also provides access to other state-of-the-art equipment for research in these areas.

The department encourages the involvement of undergraduates in research. In recent years undergraduates have participated in research at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Steward Observatory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and research laboratories at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UA Little Rock. Nanotechnology and materials research is mainly focused on inorganic semiconductors and organic nanostructures including  nanowires, nanocrystals, thin films, and organic/inorganic hybrid structures. Applications of this technology include nanowire solar cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), photonic nanowire arrays, and nanowire photodetectors and sensors. Nanomaterials studied include metal oxides (ZnO, Cu2O, FeO, TiO2, In2O3), nitrides (GaN, InN, and InGaN), carbon (carbon nanotubes and graphene), light absorbers CIGS/CZTS, and organic polymers.

Astrophysics research includes characterizing and modeling galaxy dynamics and evolution. This is done through the study of mass distribution, supermassive black holes, and Dark Matter. Studies of other celestial bodies including binary star systems, asteroids, X-ray and gamma-ray sources are also conducted. Astrophysics research is conducted utilizing the NF/ Observatory, a remote access observatory located in New Mexico, and a variety of national observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope, Fermi gamma ray telescope, Chandra X-ray telescope, and the Las Campanas Observatory. These and other research activities have helped undergraduates in this program to become nationally competitive for research awards and for jobs that require the application of modern technology.

The department sponsors an active chapter of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. Anyone interested in physics is invited to join the chapter.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in majoring in physics should contact the chairperson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy to declare a major and be assigned an advisor to help plan a schedule that will permit graduation in a timely manner. Students interested in majoring in physics are encouraged to discuss curricula and possible career opportunities with members of the physics and astronomy faculty before the end of the freshman year. Students should take MATH 1451 - Calculus I , a prerequisite for Physics for Scientists and Engineers I, early in their academic career. Entering students with preparation in calculus may enroll in Physics for Scientists and Engineers I in the first semester of the freshman year. Most upper-level physics courses require MATH 2453 - Calculus III  as a prerequisite. Decisions regarding the equivalency of courses and situations in which students have tested out of courses will be made by the chairperson of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Honors Program in Physics

The department offers an honors program to provide qualified students the opportunity to pursue advanced study and receive appropriate recognition. This program is distinct from graduation with honors and does not replace it. Interested students may apply for admission to this program after they have completed Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and II. Participants in the honors program are selected by the department faculty during the junior year, usually before the second semester. Minimum requirements for admission into the program are a 3.25 grade point average overall and a 3.50 grade point average in all physics courses. These averages must be maintained for continued participation in the program. Honors students must take at least four hours of independent study or undergraduate research related to a project in addition to the usual requirements for graduation. The study will be on an advanced topic and will involve research covering two to four semesters. The topic must be approved by the department chairperson, who will assign a faculty member to supervise the study. On successful completion of the project, the student must present the results of the study to an appropriate scientific body and submit a thesis, approved by the faculty supervisor, to the department chairperson.


    Bachelor of Arts
    Bachelor of ScienceMinor

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Schools