Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 619-5106
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Department Mission and Vision

The faculty and staff of the Cal Poly Physics Department are dedicated to serving undergraduate students, who are at the center of everything that we do.


The mission of the Cal Poly Physics Department is to:

  • Provide high-quality and inclusive undergraduate-level instruction for all students taking courses taught by our faculty
  • Emphasize advanced laboratory experiences for students pursuing physics degrees and minors in physics/geology/astronomy in accordance with our learn-by-doing philosophy
  • Provide students pursuing physics degrees, minors in physics, geology and astronomy, and when possible, students from other majors, with authentic senior projects and equitable opportunities for professional-level research in areas aligned with our faculty’s expertise and interdisciplinary interests
  • Contribute to the creation of new knowledge through scholarship


The Cal Poly Physics Department seeks to:

  • Provide quality in- and out-of-class faculty-student interactions and increase their positive impact guided by the use of data on the student learning experience
  • Build a reputation as a nationally recognized undergraduate physics department that provides formative student research experiences
  • Maintain our status as a national leader in preparing graduates to successfully transition into graduate school, industry, teaching, or government, according to their career goals
  • Build a reputation as a department that supports both tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty in honing their professional skills as they pursue their career goals
  • Achieve a student population of majors that reflects the demographics of the state of California, and help them to thrive by providing equitable opportunities and learning environments


While supporting our mission and pursuing our vision, we seek to create an inclusive and equitable environment that fosters and celebrates individual and collective growth and development, in which every member of our community is supported, so that all of our students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to:

  • Grow professionally in ways that serve both personal aspirations and communal goals
  • Grow personally in ways that respect work-life balance
  • Develop the competencies needed to live and work in a diverse, global, and sustainable society

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Cal Poly Physics joins APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance