Undergraduate Program

Physics students in a lab with a physics professor.

Physics is the underlying science of all other sciences. The study of all fundamental forces and processes from the subatomic to the "astronomic" size scales is the purview of physics. For students of science other than physicists, the purpose of learning physics is both the understanding of basic concepts and the application of problem-solving skills developed during that process. For physics majors, they may be preparing for careers from basic research, teaching, medicine, engineering, law, or a myriad of other careers where problem-solving skills are valued. Current "hot topics" are energy and fusion research, astrophysics, atmospheric physics, lasers, plasmas, optics, nano-technology, biophysics and radiation.

Physics is for people who:

  • Enjoy a challenging problem.
  • Are willing to make a lifetime commitment to learning.
  • Can take new tools and ideas and put them to work.
  • Are creative.
  • Are curious about the world around them.
  • Like to get to the very bottom of things.

All of the fields listed above as hot topics as well as solid state physics, atomic and molecular physics, low temperature phenomenon, chemical physics and as yet unknown new specialties are being developed at this very moment. Experimental physicists design and carry out experiments to discover new phenomena and to test existing theories and models. Theoretical physicists develop new models or adjust current models to fit observed phenomena. Both must have a thorough understanding of what the other does since their combined efforts lead to progress and understanding.

Career Opportunities

As indicated above, physicists find careers in industry, government, and universities doing teaching and research. Physics grads may also pursue patent law, biotechnology research or many other seemingly unrelated areas because of their problem solving skills.


Advising information for Physics Undergraduates can be found through the general College of Science student resources, on the advising page.

Suggested First Semester Classes

It is recommended that freshmen students follow the first semester plan (taken from the course catalog):

Suggested first semester classes

  Total Credits:


Course name


  ENG 101: Composition


  CS 135: Computer Science


  MATH 181: Calculus I


  Core Curriculum Social Science


  CHEM 201: General Chem for Scientists and Engineers


  OR   CHEM 121A: General Chem I


AND  CHEM 121L: Gen Chem I Lab