Physics at Southwestern

Department News

  • 09/19/2019: Applications for the 2020 South Coast Innovation challenge will be opening soon. Students, you may want to start brainstorming prototypes and teams if you are interested in competing for thousands of dollars in grants and prizes as part of this year's InventOR state competition. 
    Applications will Open September 30th and will be due November 8th.  2020 South Coast Innovation Challenge will take place in April. InventOR State Finals will be held at Rogue Community College in Medford, OR June 26, 2020
  • 08/29/2019: We would like to congratulate Geneva Varga on her selection for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium Community College Scholarship. She will receive a scholarship of $1000 over the coming academic year. Congratulations Geneva. We expect great things from you this year.
  • 06/28/2019; Congratulations to Team STARS for successfully competing at the InventOR State Finals at Portland State University. We appreciate the work of team members Rose Garrett, Austin Friedrich, Tyrone Stagner, and Korina Shipstad.
  • 05/19/2019: Congratulations to Southwestern's InventOR team STARS for competing and advancing in the InventOR semifinals this weekend in Portland. The team received a $2000 prototyping grant to continue their progress on self-tightening shoes for the elderly and physically limited.
    STARSPhoto credit: Krystal Hopper
  • 05/17/2019: Congratulations to Southwestern Students Bailee McMahon and Isabella Trifilo-Miley for presenting their respective NASA funded research at the Oregon NASA Space Grant SCORE Symposium. Both students received $800 stipend checks and a certificate of recognition following their presentations.
    SCOREPhoto credit: Krystal Hopper
  • 11/16/2018: Thank you to everyone who came out to see the SPEAR launch of balloon Excelsior 1. We are grateful for the support. You can check out the launch media coverage below:
  • Photos and Video of the launch coming soon.

Learn more about our program:

Our Colleagues and Partners:

For more information contact:

Dr. Aaron Coyner
Associate Professor of Physics
Office: Coaledo 5A
Phone: (541) 888-7244
Email: [email protected]

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Physics and Engineering Events

Remembering Apollo 50 Years Later Interdisciplinary Student Art Exhibit

Apollo flyer


Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series

What's Up Up There:
Recent Discoveries In Astronomy
Dr. Scott Fisher, University of Oregon
June 6, 2019 7pm
Hales Center for the Performing Arts

Fisher Poster

Speaker poster

Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series
From Oregon to Orbit: Inside Oregon's First Satellite
Andrew Greenberg, Portland State University
Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 7:00pm



South Coast Innovation Challenge
Applications open now. Local Semifinals April, 2019

Applications due December 10, 2018

Our Program

Southwestern's Physics Department provides fundamental sequences in algebra-based and calculus-based physics for students interested in pursuing physics, other science and STEM careers, or looking for fundamental lab science courses for transfer degrees.

Below is our current AS in Physics degree map for the 2019-20 academic year:

AS Physics Degree Map

Our primary physics courses are two full year sequences serving students seeking different degree paths:

  • PH 201-203: A full year sequence in algebra-based physics.
    • PH 201 covers classical Newtonian mechanics: kinematics, forces, energy, momentum, and rotation.
    • PH 202 covers topics in fluid mechanics, waves, thermodynamics, and optics.
    • PH 203 focuses primarily on electricity and magnetism. The algebra-based courses are frequently taken by students in forestry, natural resources, allied health, chemistry, geology, and business.
  • PH 211-213: A full year sequence in calculus-based physics.
    • PH 211 covers classical Newtonian mechanics: kinematics, forces, energy, momentum, and rotation similar to PH 201 but with more emphasis on the mathematical foundations.
    • PH 212 covers topics in fluid mechanics, waves, and thermodynamics. 
    • PH 213 provides a calculus-intensive treatment of electricity and magnetism and their associated applications.. The calculus-based sequence is a key transfer requirement for physics students and those in computer science and most engineering disciplines.

In addition to our coursework, we provide students the opportunity to pursue undergraduate research through our participation with the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. We provide our students a chance to explore their own sense of innovation through our participation in the Invent Oregon (InventOR) program

For our local community as well as our students, the physics department has participated in a number of community events and collaborations. We are developing a Physics and Astronomy Lecture Series to bring cutting edge research results and engaging scientist speakers to our community supporters of all ages. We plan to host one Physics and Astronomy guest lecture per term.