This page serves as a resource for current JMU physics students. Here you will find descriptions and links for the Society of Physics Students chapter at JMU and the JMU Astronomy Club. There is a section for commonly needed forms such as for room access, letters of reference, and chemical safety. There are also some advertisements for jobs within the department and links to external REU programs. Finally, there is a section on student awards and a link to previous JMU Physics award winners.
The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association with the only requirement that the student member be interested in physics. JMU has a an active chapter of SPS. The group organizes the Fall and Spring department picnics and meets several times a month to plan outreach and entertainment activities. Almost all of the JMU physics majors join SPS making our majors a tightly knit group. If you are interested in JMU's SPS chapter visit the website or check them out on Facebook:
Closely associated with the SPS is Sigma Pi Sigma. Sigma Pi Sigma is the National Physics Honor Society. The Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter of James Madison University was chartered on April 22, 1983. Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels, to promote an attitude of service of its members towards their fellow students and the public, and to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics. Since its founding at Davidson College in 1921, over 460 chapters of Sigma Pi Sigma have been established with a current membership of over 75,000. Our chapter has inducted 120 members over its 25 year history.
JMU maintains an active astronomy club consisting of students in all majors with an active interest in astronomy. JMU Astronomy Club meets every other Thursday at 8 PM during the semester in the Miller Planetarium. The club frequently holds observation nights making use of JMU's Astronomy Park and occasionally at off-site locations. Each semester, the group organizes a field trip to sites of astronomical interest including nearby Greenbank Radio Observatory in West Virginia and McCormick Observatory in Charlottesville, VA. If you're interested in joining the club contact them through their email: or on Facebook:
Each year the Department of Physics & Astronomy presents a number of awards to several of our junior and senior physics majors. The top academic achieving junior and senior majors recieve the Oustanding Junior and Oustanding Senior awards. Student involvement in research projects is central to our program. As such, the department also recognizes each year the oustanding undergraduate researcher. Given the size of our department and the sheer number of students that we service both inside and outside of the major, there are several oppostunities for our students to TA in the lab, tutor students, and grade. The department recognizes each year the oustanding student teacher. A full description of these awards and others along with a list of previous award winners can be found on the student awards & recognition page.
A complete guide to department policies as they apply to students can be found in the departmental student handbook . The Department of Physics offers both major and minor programs for students interested in a challenging program in pure and applied sciences. Several tracks exist within the major which allow students preparing for a wide range of post-graduate options to pursue the curriculum best suited to their needs. For instance, the graduate school-bound student will receive an introduction to the basic foundations of physics that most master and doctorate programs expect by completing the fundamental studies track. The student who is more interested in directly entering the job market may be more interested in the applied physics track. Students wishing to continue their education in engineering programs would be able to complete either track with the consultation of their faculty advisor. A full description of our course offerings and degree requirements can be found on the JMU Physics & Astronomy catalogue page.
The Research Experience in Materials Science at JMU runs from May 26 to July 31. We are now accepting application for students to work on many of our research projects. If you would like to join us for the summer, please complete the online application found here
Our program targets students in the early parts of their academic careers who have not yet been exposed to scientific research. This includes rising sophomore and juniors from institutions without a significant research program, though others are welcome to apply as well. Successful applicants will work closely with other students and a JMU faculty member for 10 weeks during the summer, be provided on campus housing if needed, and be paid a $4000 stipend. They will be expected to present their research at the final symposium of the program in the final week and possibly present their research work at regional and national scientific meetings.