Bachelor of Science in Physics

 

 

Introduction 

Physics, as one of the fundamental sciences, is concerned with the observation, understanding and prediction of natural phenomena and the behavior of man-made systems. It deals with profound questions about the nature of the universe and with some of the most important practical, environmental and technological issues of our time. The scope of Physics is broad and encompasses mathematical and theoretical investigation, experimental observation, computing technique, technological application, material manipulation and information processing. Physics seeks simple explanations of physical phenomena based on universal principles stated in concise and powerful language of mathematics. The principles form a coherent unity, applicable to objects as diverse as DNA molecules, neutron stars, super-fluids, and liquid crystals. Findings in Physics have implications in all walks of life ranging from the way we perceive reality to gadgets of everyday use.

Physicists constantly test the basic laws of nature by probing the unknown, the mysterious and the complex. They also search for new laws at the frontiers of knowledge, systematically seek novel properties of matter. They are alert to the possibility of applying physical idea and processes to new situations, and often the realization of these possibilities has had revolutionary consequences. It is with the intention of producing such physicists for the country that this curriculum has been developed and is currently under a harmonization process.

The Physics departments throughout the country have different backgrounds with the Physics Department at AAU being the pioneer. Most of the others are opened during the last two decades. Some of these Universities have been offering BSc, others BEd while the rest both. Currently there are 22 Physics Departments offering a BSc degree program in the country. It was evident that the previous curriculum, where ever it has been applied in the country, had a number of limitations. In order to find out the limitations of the previous curriculum and develop a better and new curriculum based on the new 70:30 enrolment and program mix policy, all Universities were requested, by the Ministry of Education, to carry out needs assessment.

Based on the findings of the needs assessment, most of the universities have conducted a consultative meeting at cluster levels, and then a national conference has been conducted where representatives from almost all Ethiopian Universities offering a degree program in Physics have actively participated. The conference has clearly indicated that the previous curriculum has significant limitations, and hence, in order to alleviate these shortcomings, a new and dynamic approach was required. It is indicated that the new curriculum should be prepared taking into account that the limitations of the previous curriculum should be critically addressed. It should aim for a comprehensive curriculum that contributes significantly towards the development of our country in a way that this important field plays a vital role for the advancement of science and technology. In light of these recommendations, all universities came together for the second time to finalize and harmonize a common curriculum. In that conference, a national three years curriculum has been developed which was later endorsed by the National Advisory Committee and consequently by the Ministry of Education.

A consensus has been reached by the Universities that at present our country is lacking the necessary expertise in Physics. It has become very evident to start a Bachelor of Science (BSc) Degree Program in Physics for the following main reasons:

  • there is a growing need, from the learners’ side, to maximize the stability of their skills in the ever increasing competition in the job market;
  • as the result of the graduate expansion program, new study areas that absorb Physics graduates in their post graduate programmes are emerging in various faculties/colleges of different universities throughout the country
  • the need for educated manpower in the country itself is increasing in diversity. Professions like teaching, medicine, radiation protection, meteorology, quality and standards control, geoPhysics among others absorb graduates of Physics.

A Physics student should nurture strong analytical, experimental and computing skills as well as mathematical abilities.Students should also be able to work with mechanical, optical and electronic equipments, to design projects and synthesize and summarize data that compliment theoretical and experimental skills to enhance career opportunity. Taking this into account the Ethiopian Higher Education Strategic Center (HESC), has initiated an idea of further harmonizing the national curriculum taking the experience of the last one year in implementing the new curriculum.

On Hamle 12, 2001 EC, HESC has formed group of consultants from the existing universities in the respective fields. The Physics curriculum harmonizing team is established accordingly. The team has consulted many curriculum documents relevant for its work. Particularly, it has critically evaluated the newly implemented Physics curricula of almost all the Ethiopian universities. It has also looked at the Physics curricula from the European Union which are developed on the so called Bologna Process. In addition, the team has consulted the Ethiopian Physics curriculum for the preparatory schools. It is based on these accounts that the team has come up with the current harmonized curriculum for BSc Degree program in Physics. The team has found out that there is a smooth coherence between the preparatory curricula and the harmonized Physics Curricula for the Ethiopian Universities

Objectives

The BSc Physics curriculum has the following general objectives:

  1. to provide a broad knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of Physics and the ability to apply that knowledge and understanding to solve physical problems;
  2. to enable students express their ideas clearly and cogently in both written and verbal form;
  3. to insure high quality education in Physics within a stimulating and supportive environment committed to excellence in Physics (theoretical, experimental,
    computational, research and community services);
  4. to educate students the core of Physics areas at the necessary depth, while they are encouraged to be critically receptive to new ideas and to attain their full academic potential;
  5. to equip students with a sound base of knowledge and understanding in Physics;
  6. to expose students to the applications of physical principles in various branches of Physics;
  7. to support students develop the ability to carry out experimental or/and other investigations, analyze their results critically, draw valid conclusions, and communicate their findings both verbally and in writing;
  8. to lay the foundations and transferable skills essential for further training and for the development of skills and knowledge;
  9. to render public consultations in areas closely related to Physics;
  10. to create an environment that gives students opportunities to develop personal confidence, self-reliance and career aspirations.
  11. to train students with a basic courses in Physics that will enable them to be academically and professionally qualified to solve physical problems;
  12. to develop the students ability to work independently and in groups or cooperatively;
  13. to equip students with necessary confidence, understanding and skills that he/she needs to take up his/her civic responsibilities;
  14. to enhance the capability of the students to work as professional physicists in industries, research and other institutions/organizations;
  15. to have enhanced skills in mathematics; problem solving; experimental techniques; scientific report writing; collecting, analyzing and presenting information; use of information technology and self-education;

Graduate Profile

The Physics graduates are expected to acquire problem solving and abstract thinking skills. This makes Physics graduates very desirable employees in a wide variety of areas like Education, Research, Medicine, Consulting, Defense, Industry, and Journalism and other governmental and non governmental organizations. These fundamental skills as well as training in practical subjects such as optics, lasers, computer interfacing, image processing, geophysical and space exploration, weather forecasting and electronics also make them very desirable employees in high tech companies, industries and research centers.

Having completed a BSc curriculum in Physics, students should be able to:

  • have a solid knowledge and understanding of modern and classical Physics; along with the associated mathematics and experimental techniques to become instructors at educational institutions;
  • have preparedness to undertake a postgraduate program in Physics and other related multidisciplinary postgraduate programs that require BSc in Physics;
  • have the capability to work as professional physicists in scientific research; Physics-related careers in industry, public service or the media;
  • be prepared to enter a wide range of professional careers that require and values the analytical, mathematical and computational skills of a well-trained Physics graduate;
  • have acquired an insight into, and have practice in basic methods of independent research;
  • have developed the following discipline-specific skills:
    • investigative skills, to design, carry out, analyze and evaluate experiments;
    • experimental skills, to use equipment safely; carry out measurements with desired degree of accuracy in laboratories;
    • mathematical skills appropriate to the subject;
    • readiness to be trained in specific professions like Physics teaching, Physics curriculum design and implementation
  • have developed the following transferable skills:
    • information retrieval skills, to gather and extract relevant information from books, journals and other data sources;
    • information technology skills, to collect, order, analyze and present data using computers and other electronic systems;
    • interpersonal skills, to communicate effectively with others, both in writing and orally, and to work as part of a team;
    • the ability to work independently and organize work to meet desired requirements;
    • in developing local technologies and adapting technologies for local needs;
    • have capacity for logical, critical, and objective thinking;
    • develop interest to work in group, make reliable decisions, have personal confidence, have sense of responsibility and have the commitment to serve the community
    • have personal confidence and prepared for life.

Admission Requirements
To be admitted to the BSc program in Physics, a candidate should satisfy the general admission requirements of the Universities and must have at least a pass grade in Physics and mathematics in the College Entrance Examination.

Duration of Study

The program shall be on the basis of three academic years of study.

Graduation Requirements

  • A student is required to take a minimum of 107 credit hours
  • the maximum total credit hours taken by a student shall not exceed 113
  • The Minimum Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) at the end should meet the value as specified below:
Physics Cumulative Grade Point Average 2.00
Overall Cumulative Grade Point Average 2.00
No “F” in any of the courses