Frequently Asked Questions

This is just a sample of the most frequently asked questions.  For other questions or more in depth answers please feel free to contact the Physics Department Office at (208) 496-7730.

What are the new emphasis areas within the Physics Degree?
Students pursuing a B.S. in Physics are required to choose one out of nine emphasis areas. They are: Astronomy, Biophysics, Chemistry, Computational, Engineering, Geophysics, Mathematical, Medical, and Pre-Med. Each emphasis area consists of 11 or 12 credit hours in an applied area of physics and will help prepare students for graduate school and/or careers. For many of the emphasis areas (e.g. mathematics, chemistry, and geology) students can take additional courses and receive a minor in that area. Students are  encouraged to meet with their faculty mentor as they decide on the emphasis area that will help them meet their career goals.

Why can't I (a physics major) register for the next semester?
Starting with registration for Winter 14 semester, all physics majors will be required to meet with their faculty mentor in order to be granted clearance to register. This meeting can be in person, via email, or by phone. The purpose behind it is so we can help you stay on track, know your long-term goals, etc so we can help you get into the right classes, in the right sequence, and ready to graduate. Please come see Sister Melanie Nelson in ROM 118 if you need help finding your assigned faculty mentor.

What can I do with a degree in Physics?
A background in Physics opens up a wide variety of career opportunities.  Nearly 90 percent of all "physicists" are working in medicine, education, industry, or other professions. Physicists are in demand for their analytical skills in many financial, fund management and research roles, in law, as weather forecasters, computer programmers, and as physics and science teachers.  So in short, pretty much anything you want!  Use the following links to learn what's available and how to get there.

Guide to College Majors in Physics

What is my degree worth?

I am a Physics Major and was accepted to the Winter/Spring or Spring/Fall track.
We accept any track up through your sophomore year.  Beginning your junior year you will need to apply for a track adjustment so you can take the majors courses offered in the fall and winter semesters.  Click here to learn how to request a track adjustment.

I can't register for PH 105.
The prerequisites for PH 105 are as follows: MATH 109 (Pre Calculus) OR FDMAT 112 (Calculus 1) OR FDMAT 110 (College Algebra)  AND MATH 111 (Triginometry). These prereqs are only there to help prepare you for the math level used in this course.  If you feel that you are prepared without meeting these prereqs please take the following pretest.

When is the Observatory open?
Because of the nature of the Observatory, all times and dates are subject to change based on weather conditions and faculty resources. For Fall 14 semester the current hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 6:00-9:00 pm.  For further information regarding the Observatory please contact Brother Brian Tonks at

Where do I go to change my major, substitute a course, or change my track?
The Satellite Academic Advising Center for our college is located in Austin 106B.  They can be contacted at 208.496.9880 or e-mailed at . The two main Academic Advisors are Karla Groom or Michael Cornick.  You can also visit their website at Academic Discovery Center .  Their team can help you fill out all the forms, get you on the right track, and answer any questions about graduation and requirements.

When and where is the Open Physics Tutor Lab?
You can get help with courses PH 105, PH 106, and PH 121 daily from 5:00-7:00 pm in ROM 131.  No appointment is necessary, please feel free to walk-in and get the help you need. Our tutors are qualified students who have volunteered their time to work in the lab.  If you have any questions, please contact Ross Blaszczyk at:

How do I get a code for the Physics Majors room?
ROM 129 is a very specialized room that we have gone to great lengths to reserve for the use of our majors.  As such, there are set guidelines and rules that must be followed in order to use the room. Only physics majors are given access, and it is intended that physics topics are to be the main focus when using the room. Brother David Oliphant administers the codes for this room.  You may speak with him if you feel you meet the requirements to gain access.