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Major in physics

Physicists and astronomers conduct theoretical, experimental, and computational studies to explore the fundamental properties and laws that govern space, time, energy, and matter on scales ranging from atoms to the universe.

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. Within a year of graduation, 95% of physics majors are either in graduate school or employed.

The Physics Department also offers a bachelor's of science degree in physics with a concentration in astronomy and astrophysics or a concentration in computational physics

We also offer teacher preparation for students who are interested in teaching physics at the high school level. Learn more about teacher preparation

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 will:

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

The bachelor of science degree requires a minimum of 45 credits in physics courses with 120 credits overall.

During your senior year, you will complete a capstone project, engaging in research with a faculty member on a topic in frontier research.

Astronomy/Astrophysics concentration: explore your interest in the universe by choosing the astronomy/astrophysics concentration. You'll learn the observational and analytical methods astronomers use to study the cosmos, as well as the physics behind celestial phenomena.

Computational physics concentration:  earn a BS degree in physics with a concentration in computational physics, the study and implementation of numerical analysis to solve problems in physics. Students will take a three-course sequence at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels on scientific computing and computational modeling as applied to physical systems.

Additional focus areas are available to suit a range of student interest, including computational physics, climate physics, and applied physics.

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

Enrollment in the 4+1 Teacher Preparation program allows undergraduate students to begin the education coursework towards a master’s degree in teaching (MAT) as early as the sophomore year. Half of the degree is completed as an undergraduate, reducing the time and costs of earning a graduate degree.

Student success

Mckenzie Ferrari '23

Mckenzie Ferrari '23 won multiple scholarships and awards for her undergraduate research on exploding stars and the origins of the universe. She was selected for a highly competitive research opportunity at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and saw her research published in scientific journals. 

In addition to her academic achievements, Mckenzie was captain of the women's tennis team, and a mentor in the Women in Engineering community on campus.

After graduating from UMassD, Mckenzie went on to pursue a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Chicago. 

Internship sites

  • Fermi National Accelerator Lab
  • Harvard Center for Astrophysics
  • Southern Light Solar
  • University of Washington at Seattle

Graduate school placements

  • Duke University
  • The George Washington University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Notre Dame

Career placements

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Oracle
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Textron Systems

College of Engineering alumni starting salary range:
$72,109 - $74,137

NACE Data Collection of Class of 2022 Undergraduate Alumni

UMassD advantages

  • Experience: participate in internship programs to gain valuable experience with regional industries, often while also earning money for college
  • 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 the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research
  • Capstone projects: students work on capstone projects, engaging with faculty members on research topics

International (F-1) students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees may be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training (OPT). To learn about the eligibility criteria and detailed steps to apply, please review the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) OPT page and USCIS resources. F-1 students must consult with the ISSC to apply for STEM OPT.

UMass Dartmouth offers a great transfer experience for students who:

  • have graduated from an accredited community college, or
  • have earned college credits from an accredited college or university

Transfer Admissions

Expand your opportunities

Teacher preparation

Your path to becoming a middle or high school teacher in Physics.

Physics faculty

Christian McHugh
Christian McHugh, PhD
David Kagan
David Kagan, PhD
Grant O'Rielly
Grant O'Rielly, PhD
Jong-Ping Hsu
J.P. Hsu, PhD
Jianyi Jay Wang
Jay Wang, PhD
Robert Fisher
Robert Fisher, PhD
Renuka Rajapakse
Renuka Rajapakse, PhD
Sarah Caudill
Sarah Caudill, PhD
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