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Department of

Physics and Biophysics


All Physics faculty engage interested students in cutting-edge research programs. One of the distinguishing features of a liberal arts university experience is that the student works side-by-side with a faculty member in their research lab; there is no infrastructure separating the undergraduate and the Principal Investigator, such as exists at major research universities. At USD, this affords valuable hands-on experiences that contribute enormously to our students' growth and success as independent critical thinkers.

Students may earn upper division credit for research during the semester or during the summer for pay (including a stipend, on-campus housing and a supplies budget).Many student researchers present their results at local, national and international scientific conferences including:

  • American Physical Society
  • UCSD Summer Research Conference
  • Creative Collaborations

and have published their research in the physics literature including the American Journal of Physics and the Foundations of Physics, to name a few.

Faculty-student collaborative research in Physics is supported via grants from various funding agencies:

  • National Science Foundation
  • US Department of Energy
  • Research Corporation

Research grants totaling over $400,000 have been awarded to the department since 2003.

The bulk of our research activities take place during the summer months. Faculty mentors work closely with students on both USD funded projects and externally funded research projects. This page is designed to be a resource for students seeking summer research opportunities at USD as well as other institutions.

How to obtain a summer research position in USD’s Physics department?

  • Browse the department website and read over the faculty bios.
  • Think about your personal scientific interests. Are you interested in biophysics? Thermodynamics? Nanotechnology? Laser spectroscopy? Astrophysics? Plasma Physics? Try to mesh your interests with that of a particular faculty member.
  • Make an appointment to discuss research opportunities with a faculty member.
  • In collaboration with a faculty mentor, pursue funding opportunities (see below).

Please visit Physics Faculty Bios

Rae Anderson, Ph.D., Gregory Severn, Ph.D. , Daniel Sheehan, Ph.D.