What Can I Do with a Major in Physics?

Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature and their applications to everything from subatomic particles to galaxies. Typical subjects of study include atomic and molecular physics, lasers and optics, electricity and magnetism, classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical physics, biophysics, and materials physics. Technical and theoretical developments in fields such as medicine, engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, ecology, geology, biology, and chemistry evolve from physics research.

Physics majors learn to*:

  • solve quantitative problems
  • develop and write research proposals
  • experiment with ideas, procedures, and projects
  • use mechanical, electrical, and optical equipment
  • develop computer interfacing

Physics graduates not only find careers in government laboratories, universities, and private industries, but work in a broad range of sectors—from economics, business, and law; to biology and medicine; to technology and engineering—wherever quantitative-modeling and problem-solving skills are needed.

About 60% of our Physics graduates attend graduate or professional school, specializing in physics, engineering, business, law, education, or medicine. Those students not continuing their formal education can find employment in a variety of scientific, technical, and other fields. High school teaching, military service, or technical sales are some of these options. A physics degree can also provide entry into other fields such as marketing or business operations with technical companies.

Possible careers include**:

  • astrophysicist
  • nuclear physicist
  • systems analyst
  • applications programmer
  • geophysical surveyor
  • laser technician

Additional Resources

*This is a sample of specific skills (competencies) that Physics majors acquire; it is not a comprehensive list. Also note that these are in addition to the general skills that are common to all CAS majors.

**This is a sample of career options available to Physics majors; it is not a comprehensive list. Also note that some of the listed career options may require additional education and/or training beyond the bachelor's degree.