Offered as: major | minor

Uncover the mysteries of nature, probe the far reaches of space and the depths of the ocean, and meet our planet's environmental challenges. As a physicist, you can investigate the structure of the atom, design and program computers, solve environmental problems, and develop new manufacturing materials.

Physicists lead some of the world's major technology companies and research institutes, paving the way for technological innovations such as lasers, solar cells, electric cars, medical diagnostics, and computers.

The powerful array of technical skills you'll acquire as a physics major will prepare you for a career in many areas of theoretical and applied science. You'll be ready to assume leadership roles in industry, business, and government or explore the fields of materials science, biophysics, geophysics, oceanography, and medical physics.

Special opportunities

  • Experience: participate in internship programs to gain valuable experience with regional industries, often while also earning money for college
  • Research: work on projects with experienced research faculty
  • Community: join organizations such as the Physics Club, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders
  • New initiatives: collaborate, create, and explore at our IDEAStudio and the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research

Physics major

Our curriculum covers all of the core fields of physics: classical and quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, modern physics and relativity, optics, thermodynamics, and solid state physics.

As a physics major you'll:

  • apply critical thinking, computer, and electronic skills to solve problems
  • develop the mathematical analysis and technical writing skills potential employers are seeking
  • train in advanced laboratory techniques, computer simulation, and numerical modeling

For the BS in physics, you'll complete at least 47 credits in physics courses and a total of 120 credits overall.

Astronomy/Astrophysics option

Explore your interests in the universe by choosing the astronomy/astrophysics option of our bachelor's degree program. You'll learn the observational and analytical methods astronomers use to study the cosmos, as well as the physics behind celestial phenomena.

Physics minor

Establish the physics background you'll need to enter a variety of interdisciplinary fields. For the minor, you'll complete 20 credits.

Advanced study

  • MS in Physics: Expand your career options with a master's degree in physics.
  • PhD in Engineering and Applied Science: Emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of modern research at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences, and technology.

Related academic areas

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Success story

Matthew Wise

Matthew Wise '17

Matthew's story

Internship placements

  • Fermi National Accelerator Lab
  • MACK Molding
  • Southern Light Solar

Career placements

  • General Electric
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • National Institutes of Standards and Technology
  • Naval Underwater Systems
  • Office of Naval Research
  • Southern Light Solar

Graduate schools

  • Boston University
  • John Hopkins University
  • Rutgers University
  • SUNY at Stony Brook
  • University of California at Los Angeles
  • Yale University


Grant O'Rielly
Chair, Department of Physics
Science and Engineering Building, Room 306A

Accreditation information

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