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Academics

Physics Major (B.A. or B.S.)

Our Physics major provides a rigorous grounding in fundamental physics, fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving, and provides broad practical training in science and technology. It is designed to prepare students for advanced study in physics, engineering, or other technical disciplines, for employment in industry, or for a teaching at the secondary level.

The Physics major provides a rigorous grounding in fundamental physics, fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving, and provides broad practical training in science and technology. It is designed to prepare you for advanced study in physics, engineering or other technical disciplines, for employment in industry, or for teaching at the secondary level. Physics graduates are in high demand in any area where analytical thinking and problem solving are important, and our students have also gone on to careers in computer programming, finance, law, and medicine.

All physics majors complete a core of courses covering the foundations of the discipline: classical mechanics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics. Electives allow more specialized areas to be explored in greater detail, for example condensed matter physics, particle physics, optics and general relativity. In the advanced and electronics laboratories, you have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation, and gain experience in experimental design and data analysis.

You are also encouraged to participate in research with a faculty member, which, depending on interests, may start as early as the freshman year. Physics faculty members have active research programs in experimental condensed matter physics, experimental particle physics, and theoretical and computational particle physics. Experimental research is carried out in part at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and students have the opportunity to visit and work at these prestigious facilities.