Research Courses

There are four research courses offered: Research in Physics, Research in Biophysics, Research in Nuclear Physics, and Research in Astrophysics. These courses engage students in original research projects.

Projects which satisfy the requirements for a research course include:

  • A completed research project undertaken as part of a GW research group. The project should be selected in consultation with both the research advisor(s) (a research advisor must be chosen from the physics department, if the research group is in another department) and the undergraduate advisor. Links to different GW Physics Department research groups can be found in the Research at GWU Physics or Undergraduate Research pages.
  • A research project undertaken at another institution as part of an REU program or other internship. Such a project must meet the same requirements as a research project completed at GW; it must be approved in advance, and the student must choose a research advisor from within the department. A brief listing of summer REU programs can be found in the Undergraduate Research page.
  • Development of a new experiment for the intermediate lab or introductory lab including all equipment development and testing, all necessary documentation for instructor and participant, and outline of supporting lectures. Approval of any project of this nature to satisfy the requirements of the research course must be sought from the undergraduate advisor in advance of the project. A research advisor will also be selected to oversee progress on the project.

To Receive Credit for the Research Course:

  1. All proposed projects under a research course must be approved first by a faculty research advisor and then by the undergraduate advisor. The faculty research advisor oversees progress on the project and provides assistance if necessary. The faculty research advisor must be a member of the physics department faculty, even in cases when the project is done in another department or another institution. Other research advisors may also be engaged by mutual agreement with the student, the faculty research advisor, and the undergraduate advisor.
  2. Each student enrolled in a research course will give periodic reports about the current state of his or her project to the faculty research advisor. These may be in the form of presentations to a small group.
  3. The student must submit a written summary of the project to the faculty research advisor and make an open presentation after the project is complete.
  4. Completion of the project and grading is determined by the faculty research advisor.

A project satisfying the minimum requirements for the research course would not satisfy the conditions for an honors thesis, which requires a good deal more work and understanding on the part of the student. Please read about a degree with special honors for more details.

Music and Physics

Unique Undergraduate Course: Music and Physics

Open to all undergraduates, Music and Physics offers a comparative study of music and physics. The course aims to show parallels in the history of the two fields by emphasizing those topics in physics related to the theory of music and the production of sound by musical instruments, particularly classical mechanics and wave motion. For a list of all undergraduate courses, please visit the Physics Undergraduate Bulletin.