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Department of Physical Sciences


Chemistry, earth science, physics, engineering, and physical science education


CHEMISTRY – Biochemist, Laboratory Scientist, Pharmacist, Medical Doctor, Dentist, Chemical Engineer, Environmental Chemist, Chiropractor, Chemistry Education, or Graduate Studies in Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Forensic Science.

EARTH SCIENCE – Professional Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Hydrologist, Soil Scientist, Paleontologist, Museum Curator, Civil Engineer, Geographic Information Systems Analyst, Earth Science Educator, or Graduate Studies in Atmospheric Science (Meteorology, Climatology, etc.), Geology, Physical Geography, or Environmental Science.

PHYSICS – Physicist, Astronomer, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Aeronautical Engineer, Architect, Physics Education or Graduate Study in Physics, Astronomy or Medical Physics.

PHYSICAL SCIENCE EDUCATION – State of Kansas Teaching Licensure in: Chemistry, Earth/Space Science, Physics, or Sciences Grades 5-8 (Middle School Science).

Rich Sleezer Earth Science

Why ESU?

The Department of Physical Sciences maintains dedicated laboratories for students to acquire hands-on experiences in Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Water Quality Analyses, Instrumental Chemical Analyses, Biochemical Analyses, Digital Electronics, Computational Physics, Fossil Preparation, Rock and Mineral Analyses, and Soil Analyses.

Our state-of-the-art Aber Geospatial Analysis laboratory contains 17 workstations with GIS and Remote Sensing software, large format scanners and a wide-format plotter. The Aber lab provides students with the resources necessary to conduct advanced spatial analysis, three-dimensional renderings of topography, view historical aerial photographs, process satellite and drone-acquired imagery, and make high quality maps.

Earth Science Materials

The Department of Physical Sciences also manages the Johnston Geology Museum, Peterson Planetarium, and, the Science and Math Education Center, a Map Library, and the Hamilton Quarry fossil locale Natural Area. These resources provide students with a variety of opportunities for unique learning experiences.

Faculty and Student research has been supported by a variety of state and federal agencies (e.g. NASA, NIH, USDA-NRCS, etc.). Emporia State University is a member of the Kansas Space Grant Consortium of Universities, the Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence funded by the National Institutes of Health (K-INBRE-NIH), and BioKansas

Featured Degrees

Earth Science-BS

Bachelor of Science

The Earth Science program in the Department of Physical Sciences provides you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience via field studies, laboratory activities, and by offering a wide variety of specialized coursework in geology, atmospheric science, hydrogeology, oceanography, geomorphology, paleontology, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing.


Bachelor of Science

Physicists try to answer important questions like “What are matter and energy, and how do they behave in the Universe?” The physics program at ESU has a strong tradition of educating students so they can ask and answer these questions themselves. The Bachelor of Science (BS) physics major is focused in physics and provides in-depth preparation for immediate employment or graduate study.

Engineering-Dual-Degree BS Physics

Pre Professional Program

Gain a dual degree in Mathematics or Physical Science and Engineering (Kansas State University or University of Kansas) through our intercollegiate dual degree program agreement.

Graduate Programs

Explore graduate programs in the Department of Physical Sciences.

Undergraduate Majors + Minors

Explore majors and minors in the Department of Physical Sciences.

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Drone in middle of a field


Learn more about our department facilities and meet our staff.

Students flying drone

Department of Physical Sciences Scholarships

Departmental scholarships are available for prospective and current students. Learn about them here.