The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional physics association designed explicitly for students. Membership through collegiate chapters requires only an interest in physics. The SPS helps students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community and provides them with the skills needed to flourish professionally: effective communication and personal interactions, leadership experience, establishng a personal network of contacts, presenting scholarly work in professional meetings and journals, and outreach services to the campus and local communities. The SPS chapter at The University of Tennessee is a dynamic organization committed to scholarship, outreach, and service. They won a 2015 Blake Lilly Prize from the national organization for their outreach efforts, including their demos on Market Square and the Saturday Science Club at Pond Gap Elementary School. They have been recognized as an outstanding chapter every year since 2012.
Sigma Pi Sigma, a nationally-recognized scholastic honor society within the American Institute of Physics, elects members on the basis of outstanding academic achievement. The UT chapter of the Society of Physics Students screens all UT physics students for eligibility for invitation into Sigma Pi Sigma. Every effort is made to identify students who meet the requirements (see below). Students are initiated into the society during the department's spring Honors Day ceremony.
- Must have a junior standing
- Must have a minimum of six credit hours of physics courses numbered 300 or above
- Must have an overall grade point average of 3.25
- The grade point average of all physics courses must be at least 3.5
- Must have met the same UT requirements at their undergraduate institution OR
- Must have completed one full year of graduate study in physics with 6 graduate level courses in physics completed. Seminar, thesis, and independent study courses are excluded from the 6 courses.
- Must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 for all physics courses
- Must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 for all graduate courses