A path to success for physics students
We want our students to make the most of every minute they spend at SFA. Our student advising resources will help guide you as you work toward your physics degree. Want to learn more about the minor in astronomy? Your advisor can provide you more information and details about program requirements. Do you dream of working at NASA, obtaining a teaching certificate or pursuing a Ph.D.? Your advisor will help you design a program that matches your interests and goals.
Your SFA advisor will also help you select courses and electives to track your progress toward your degree. And whether you’re a first-semester freshman or a senior on the verge of graduating, your advisor will be available to answer questions and offer advice.
Chart a course and reach for the stars
Your advisor does more than help you choose classes. In addition to helping you with your degree plan, your advisor can help you:
- Select or change your major or minor
- Identify potential career paths based on your interests
- Strengthen your study skills
- Get on track if you’re struggling academically
Faculty and staff
The academic advisor for physics and astronomy students is Dr. Harry Downing, and the academic advisor for engineering students is Dr. Dan Bruton.
Dr. Harry Downing
Call: 936.468.3001, extension 2290
Visit: Cole STEM Building, Room 207A
Dr. Dan Bruton
Call: 936.468.3001, extension 2360
Visit: Cole STEM Building, Room 207Q
How to make an appointment
To schedule an appointment with an advisor:
1. Log into mySFA
2. Click on the "Advising" tab
3. In the "My Advisor" portal, go to your assigned advisor
4. Click on "Schedule an appointment with your advisor"
For additional assistance, please call 936.468.3902.
What is a degree plan? And when do I need to file one?
A degree plan summarizes what you have taken so far and what is left for you to take to complete your degree. You must file one once you have completed 45 hours of college credits. To start the process, visit the Advising Center.
What minors should I choose as a physics major?
Physics majors are required to take 15 hours of mathematics that can apply to an 18-hour minor in mathematics. All physics majors are encouraged to complete a math minor along with their physics major.
Engineering physics majors are not required to have a minor – but because the major requires 15 hours of math, many engineering physics students choose to add a math minor since it only requires one more advanced math course.
If you choose a math minor, it’s very easy to add on a second minor in astronomy or engineering. Talk to your academic advisor for more details.
How does the Physics-Engineering Dual Degree Program work?
Students who choose the Physics-Engineering Dual Degree Program spend three years at SFA before transferring to an engineering school. Students who complete the dual degree curriculum will receive a B.S. degree in physics from SFA and a B.S. degree in engineering from their chosen engineering school.
What if I want to change majors or minors?
Changing your major or minor is easy. Just visit with the advising center of the college that houses your new major or minor.
Students on academic probation or suspension may change majors with an approval from their current and receiving deans.
What is academic probation?
A student is placed on academic probation after the first regular semester in which the cumulative GPA falls below 2.0. Students on academic probation whose semester GPA is 2.0 or higher will be allowed to continue on academic probation until the cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher. Academic probation will continue until the student achieves good standing or is placed on academic suspension.
What is academic suspension?
A student on academic probation will be placed on academic suspension if the student's semester GPA falls below 2.0.
A student on academic suspension may be allowed to continue in the university through any of the following procedures:
- Meet conditions established by the student’s dean; or
- Be readmitted automatically on a provisional basis after one regular semester’s absence from the university. Following a second or subsequent academic suspension and absence from the university for two regular semesters, be readmitted automatically. Summer terms are exempt from periods of academic suspension. Automatic readmission will not occur if the student takes courses elsewhere and fails to attain a GPA of 2.0 for those courses; or,
- After the first academic suspension, attend summer school at SFA and either raise the cumulative GPA to 2.0 or above, or obtain a GPA of 2.0 or above for at least 9 semester credit hours in courses specified by the student’s dean.
How – and when – do I file for graduation?
Apply in person at the Rusk Building, Room 201 (this is the preferred method for undergraduate students)
You can also apply for graduation by mail/e-mail. You’ll need to fill out the appropriate form:
Application dates vary depending on which semester you plan to graduate. Please refer to the list below:
- May commencement – Applications are taken September 15 through November 15 of prior year.
- August Commencement – Applications are taken January 2 through March 2 of same year.
- December commencement – Applications are taken April 1 through June 1 of same year.