As a physics major, you'll study, measure, and manipulate the fundamental interactions of matter, energy, space, and time. This will give you the tools to solve scientific mysteries and reveal the workings of nature. Physics has produced the science behind many technologies. Some of these technologies include superconducting magnets for MRI machines, cell phones, supermarket scanners, particle accelerators, and fiber-optic communications. If you have a passion for knowledge, physics may be for you. Our program will give you the keys to a wide range of challenging and fulfilling careers.

Career options include astronomy, atmospheric sciences, complex systems modeling, geophysics, laser technology, nuclear medicine, and particle accelerator technology.

Visit Department Website →


  • 70% of students reported having an internship or co-op during their degree program.
  • 91% of students reported securing their first choice destination upon graduation.
  • The average starting salary for a physics graduate is $80,557 with an average signing bonus of $4,750.

Discover your power. Become a Grainger Engineer.

Your path to Grainger Engineering starts with connecting your passion and interests with the opportunities available in one of our 15 top-ranked major programs. Explore your options and gather the information you need to take the next step and apply.

Request More Information

Begin Your Application

We solve problems first.

What You'll Study

When you’re a physicist, you understand the fundamentals. You work with the integrations of matter, energy, space, and time to solve scientific mysteries and reveal the workings of nature. Physicists are behind quantum computers, superconducting magnets, atomic clocks, and so much more. As a physics student, you take classes in electricity and magnetism, thermal physics, electromagnetic fields, and quantum physics. Once you graduate you might find yourself in astronomy, nuclear medicine, laser science and engineering, quantitative finance, and solar energy engineering.

In addition to courses in theoretical physics, this program offers advanced laboratory courses supported by Grainger Engineering surcharge funds. It is also very flexible, allowing electives that can be used to create custom programs combining Physics with other disciplines and training in technical areas.

View Curriculum Map

Minor in Computer Science

The CS Minor is offered for students seeking significant knowledge of digital computing without the more complete treatment of a major in computer science. This minor may be taken by any student except majors in the Computer Science degree programs and in Computer Engineering.

Learn more about the CS Minor


Voices of Grainger Engineering


  • Women
  • Experiences
  • Advice

Student Becomes the Teacher


Post-Graduation Success

The physics program will give you the keys to a wide range of challenging and fulfilling careers. About sixty-three percent of our physics graduates continue their education in graduate school, and about thirty-four percent take positions in industry.

Common career paths for physics students include: aerodynamicist, acoustical physicist, automotive engineer, astrophysicist, application engineer, biophysicist engineer, computer system engineer, environmental analyst, environmental specialist, forensic scientist, fiber optic engineer, fluid physicist, geodesist, geophysicist, health physicist, lab technician, materials scientist, medical physicist, nuclear physicist, oceanographer, operations analyst, particle accelerator, project engineer, physicist, physiognomist, plasma physicist, process engineer, quality engineer, radiological laboratory director, research physicist, satellite data analyst, seismologist, solid Earth physicist, stratigrapher, systems engineer, technical analyst, and technical consultant.

The average salary for Physics grads in 2022-2023 was reported as $80,577 with an average signing bonus of $4,750.

Visit Department Website

employed or continuing education*

employed after graduation

attending graduate school

average starting annual income*

Sample employer destinations: Epic Systems, Fannie Mae, Intel View All

Sample grad school destinations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, University of California, San Diego View All

*Post-graduate data was collected through the Illini Success initiative, which primarily relies on self-reported survey data sources. Statistics reported are from 2022-2023. Please note that total compensation may be greater than annual salary as other forms of compensation (e.g., signing bonus, commission, benefits) are not included. For more information on Illini Success data and methods, please visit the Illini Success website.

Upcoming Events


Students drop a basketball in a physics lab experiment

Your future starts here.

Applying to The Grainger College of Engineering opens the door to your future as a successful engineer. Get started by scheduling a visit, requesting information, or submitting your application.