Quarks, black holes, gravitational waves, nanotechnology and chaotic systems—discoveries like these make front-page news as physicists continue to learn about the universe’s fundamental structure. Studying how matter and energy behave, beginning physics majors and senior physicists alike find challenges and excitement in solving problems and discovering new concepts. Physicists in business and industry work with revolutionary technology, such as lasers, superconductors, and modern electronic and optical devices. Jobs in these fields are often in high demand and pay well.
Perhaps the most fundamental of all sciences, physics provides a background for understanding other scientific disciplines, as well as many aspects of everyday life. Physics principles are crucial to such diverse applications as home electrical wiring, the motion of a rocket or a skydiver, solar energy and an echocardiogram of the human heart. Thus, understanding physics helps us make sense of our world.
About the Department
The Department of Physics and Astronomy is devoted to including students in research. Many of our undergraduate and graduate students are accepted into Ph.D. programs at R1 research institutions. The department has three main research foci in physics: Astrophysics, Biophysics and Condensed Matter Physics. For more information, please visit the Department of Physics and Astronomy website.
Physics majors must consult the appropriate department faculty advisor each semester before registering.
- Undergraduate Advisor: Li Gao
- Graduate Advisor: Miroslav Peric
Many of the department’s majors have been accepted by graduate programs and institutions for advanced degrees in Physics or related fields. Other students gain employment immediately following graduation. Graduates fill a variety of scientific and technical positions in business and industry, including research scientist, technical staff or manager, technical salesperson or business owner. Others teach in high schools, community colleges or universities. Some become medical physicists or physicians.
B.S. Honors Program
The program leading to a B.S. degree in Physics with Honors provides the opportunity to selected Physics majors for intensive study under individual faculty guidance. Admission to the Honors Program is granted by approval of the department undergraduate advisor. Students in either of the B.S. options are eligible provided they have:
- Completed 90 units of college work.
- Maintained a GPA of 3.0 overall and in the Physics major.
- Obtained the approval of a faculty sponsor who will supervise their research. Students interested in the Honors Program should contact the department undergraduate advisor. Honors candidates will be required to complete one of the two B.S. options of the Physics major, plus the following course: PHYS 498 Undergraduate Thesis (3).
Graduation with Honors in Physics will require the following:
- Admission to the Honors Program.
- GPA of 3.25 for all upper division units in the major. Grades for individual courses and labs must be a “C” or higher. A grade of “C-” does not qualify.
- Approval of the undergraduate thesis by a faculty committee.
Scholarships and Awards
See Student Awards for a list of scholarships and awards given by the department.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Chair: Debi Choudhary
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1128