Physics and Space Sciences


The Department of Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Tech offers students a solid foundation in the physical sciences with the personalized attention of our 15 full-time faculty. Our department was the first in the country to offer a degree in Space Sciences, and we are still among only a handful that offers this degree today. Our graduates obtain employment at NASA, in the private-sector industry, and academia.

We offer our students unique real-world learning opportunities in a range of areas:

  • Astronomy & Astrophysics Research (using our array of ground-based telescopes in Arizona, Chile, the Canary Islands, and our on campus Ortega 0.8-m telescope).
  • High-Energy Particle Physics Research (in our HEP and Detector Development Laboratories).
  • Space Physics Research and Space Weather.
  • Lightning Research.
  • Astrobiology Research.

Our department has about 120 undergraduate students making us one of the largest Physics and Space Sciences departments in the country. Despite our size, we still have a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 9:1 allowing us to offer hands-on research experiences to all of our students. All of our major courses are taught by department faculty and typical class size for upper division major classes is 15 or fewer. The university as a whole has a student to faculty ratio of 11:1, allowing small class sizes, unique field, research, and project experiences, and the ability of the student to build good working relationships with faculty.

In January 2005, the Department of Physics and Space Sciences at Florida Tech doubled its on-campus office and laboratory space with the completion of the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Building. It now provides 14 teaching and 21 research laboratories. A 3,500 sq. ft. "high bay" physics research hall is used for magnetic levitation launch systems and high energy physics research, as well as planetary science work.

Perched atop our building is the 0.8-meter (32-inch) diameter Ortega Telescope, housed in our Olin Observatory. This telescope is one of the largest and the most research active telescopes in the Southeast, and is augmented by 15 smaller telescopes for instructional use.

The University

Florida Institute of Technology is an accredited, coeducational, independently controlled and supported university. At Florida Institute of Technology we are committed to the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research in the sciences, engineering, technology, management and related disciplines, as well as providing the challenges that motivate our students to reach their full academic and professional potential. Today, over 4,200 students are enrolled, with more than 2,800 students on the Melbourne campus and about 1,400 at our off-campus graduate centers. All of the off-campus students and more than 750 on-campus students are enrolled in graduate programs. We offer more than 140 degree programs in science and engineering, aviation, management, humanities, psychology and communication. Doctoral degrees are offered in 20 isciplines, while more than 60 master's degrees are offered.

Our location in Melbourne, on Florida's Space Coast, offers a delightful year-round subtropical climate and inviting ocean beaches. This location also gives us a unique place in the academic world. Corporations whose scientists and engineers are making tomorrow's technological breakthroughs for the U.S. space program surround the Kennedy Space Center.

Moreover, the growing number of high-tech, innovative businesses and industries in the Melbourne area help to make Florida's business environment one of the most promising and exciting in the nation, and enables our faculty to stay abreast of the latest challenges and developments in the scientific, technical and business worlds. Overall, Florida Tech's location is ideal for keeping pace with developments in science, technology and business.

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