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  • College of Arts & Sciences

    • Science Division
    • Kirkbride Hall, Room 323
    • tel: 610-499-4003
    • fax: 610-499-4496
  • Steve Adams

    • Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    • Kirkbride Hall, Room 366B
    • tel: 610-499-4006


Student Research, Physics & Astronomy

Student Testimonial

female student in blue blouse

Bridget Jennings '17

"I am amazed by how many resources are readily available to me as a physics major at Widener. It's inspiring and encouraging."

Research is an exciting experience that physics majors at Widener undertake, especially if they plan to pursue their graduate studies in physics or astronomy.

Previous students at Widener have worked on research projects with faculty and in some cases have published peer-reviewed scientific articles. Some of the research projects covered topics such as optical gyroscopes, super-luminal and sub-luminal light, active galaxies, black holes, variable stars, and much more. While the topics vary, the experience is one, and it is rewarding.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis is intended to provide an opportunity for students majoring in physics to participate in an independent, investigative research project that exceeds the requirement of the bachelor in science degree in physics. Students carry out novel research in a field of physics or astronomy. 

Senior Thesis Proposal

Typically taken in the fall semester of the junior year or during the summer after junior year, this course involves generating a research proposal with extensive literature review.

Senior Thesis I and II

Seniors enroll in two credits of research during each semester, involving:

  • Presentation of research proposal
  • A written thesis
  • Oral presentation on Student Project Day
  • Defense within one week of Student Project Day, students respond to questions from the thesis committee and submit a revised thesis.

Summer Research Program

Students who wish to use Widener’s facilities for self-driven research or to focus on a joint research project with faculty over the summer months may apply for free summer housing through the university’s Summer Research Program. The program also provides for professional development activities in addition to regularly scheduled social events with all participants.

National Undergraduate Research Observatory (NURO)

Widener is a member of NURO, a consortium of small undergraduate-focused institutions. Twice per year, Widener students travel to Flagstaff, Arizona, to observe with a 31-inch telescope at Lowell Observatory. Students make observations of objects such as variable stars and active galaxies and then bring the data back to Widener for analysis.