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Applied Physics

College of Letters and Science

  • Bachelor of Science

How does the universe work? The study of physics attempts to answer this question by examining the smallest subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, stars and galaxies. Using atomic-scale microscopes and high-energy particle accelerators and nuclear reactors, we can learn not only what holds the atomic nucleus together, but also how proteins function and why stars shine. Undergraduate physics training provides excellent preparation for a career or for graduate work in many fields — from sciences such as oceanography and geology to law, medicine and even finance.

Major Requirements

The B.S. degree in applied physics begins with core lower and upper division physics courses and includes concentrated coursework in your area of specialization. Foundational coursework in physics covers classical and modern physics as well as calculus and other mathematics. Your major adviser will help you choose electives to fit your specialization — approved courses are listed on the department website. Our physical electronics specialty offers you the added choice of pursuing a five-year B.S./M.S. degree in electrical engineering.

Contact Information

Degree Outcomes


  • Researcher
  • Patent Lawyer
  • Marine/Oceanographic Scientist
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Water Engineer
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Computer Animation Specialist
  • Artificial Intelligence/Robotics Researcher
  • Scientific and Computational Manager
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Veterinarian
  • Medical Physicist
  • Oceanographer

Graduate Study

  • Physics
  • Atmospheric studies
  • Law
  • Medical physics
  • Oceanography
  • Engineering

Alumni Employers

  • Facebook
  • State of California
  • Dreamworks
  • Microsoft
  • Sandia Corp
  • Subaru Telescope
  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
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