University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Department of Physics | University of Illinois Archives
Courses in chemical physics and higher physics were listed in the 1868-69 catalogue.1 In 1870-71, the Board of Trustees listed Stillman W. Robinson as professor of Physics, and, in 1871-72, they listed Physics and Astronomy as a "department of study."2 Course catalogs for 1876-77 through 1890-91 refer to a "course in physics" as part of the curriculum of the four schools in the College of Engineering.3 In 1886, the Physics course was divided, offering a general course, and one for engineering.4 Until 1889-90, when Samuel W. Stratton assumed teaching responsibilities in Physics, the courses were usually taught by the heads of the departments of Mechanical and Mining Engineering.5 Upon Stratton's formal appointment as Assistant Professor of Physics, the scope of instruction in Physics was expanded and Physics emerged as separate department in 1890-91.6
Graduate work in Physics leading to the Master's and Ph.D. were offered through the Graduate College after its establishment in 1907. The first Ph.Ds. in Physics were awarded in 1910, and an undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor's of Science in Engineering was approved in 1917 and the first B.S. was awarded in 1923.7 The aims of the department are to offer "a curriculum in engineering physics to give . . . training in fundamental physics and mathematics." The department has "extensive facilities for instruction and investigation in physics."8 Physics is available as a field of concentration and as a major leading to the Bachelor's of Science degree within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.9
1. Catalogues and Circulars, 1868-69, pp. 26-27.
2. Board of Trustees Transactions, 4th Report, 1870-71, p. 45; 5th Report, p. 56.
3. Catalogues & Circulars, 1876-77 to 1890-91.
4. Board of Trustees Transactions, 13th Report, 1884-86, p. 159.
5. Board of Trustees Transactions, 15th Report, 1888-90, December 10, 1889, p. 114.
6. Board of Trustees Transactions, 15th Report, 1888-90, June 10, 1890, pp. 148-49, 160.
7. Board of Trustees Transactions, 24th Report, 1906-08, June 10, 1907, p. 133. Board of Trustees Transactions, 1916-18, June 25, 1917, pp. 392-93.
8. Undergraduate Study Catalog, 1969-70, p. 266.
9. Undergraduate Programs, 1987-90, p. 274, 287-88.