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.
All Physics majors must consult the appropriate department faculty advisor each semester before registering.
Undergraduate Advisor: Hendrik Postma
Graduate Advisor: Miroslav Peric
Many students go on to advanced degrees in Physics or related fields. The department’s majors have been accepted by some of the nation’s best graduate schools. Other students go to work immediately following graduation. Graduates fill a variety of scientific and technical positions in business and industry, including research scientist, technical staff member 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. There can be no individual grades below a “C.” A grade of “C-” is not acceptable.
- Approval of the undergraduate thesis by a faculty committee.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Chair: Damian J. Christian
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1128