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.

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  • Our physics program is ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 70% of students reported having an internship or co-op during their degree program.
  • 84% of students reported securing their first choice destination upon graduation.
  • The average starting salary for a physics graduate is $80,176 with a median signing bonus of $10,000.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Post-Graduation Success

The physics program will give you the keys to a wide range of challenging and fulfilling careers. About forty-nine percent of our physics graduates continue their education in graduate school, and about thirty-five 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 between 2019-20 for physics grads was reported as $80,167 with a median signing bonus of $10,000.

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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

Upcoming Events

New Student Open Office Hours
All students interested in majoring in Engineering Physics should drop into the weekly office hours session with our department recruiter and get their questions answered. If you're wondering about our major, what our students learn and how they spend their free time, where our students go after graduation, and anything else you're wondering about, stop in for a quick question or stay and chat and learn about our major, our department, and some of the cool research happening in our department!

Days: Thursdays
Times: 9:00 - 10:00 am; 3:00 - 4:00 pm

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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.