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.
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.
College of Engineering alumni starting salary range:
NACE Data Collection of Class of 2022 Undergraduate Alumni
- 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
Expand your opportunities
- Physics BS/MS accelerated program enables well-qualified BS degree students in Physics to complete both the BS and the MS with up to 15 fewer total credits
- 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.