Understand the complex laws of our universe — from the tiniest particles to the largest galaxies. Pursue a major or minor in physics to collaborate with accomplished faculty and like-minded peers. You'll be prepared for careers in physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science and more.
Why This Program & What You'll Learn
Learn the fundamental principles of the universe as you develop strong analytical skills. Learn foundational knowledge of thermal physics, quantum theory, astrophysics, mathematics and more. Then, put your learning into practice in laboratory courses and state-of-the-art facilities.
Our students are exploring the subtle behavior of atoms and how they interact with molecules and solids.
- By predicting how atoms interact, we can explore the properties of new molecules and materials that are at the heart of all technology.
- Students are currently investigating materials that can be used to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Students are currently investigating materials that could possibly improve batteries.
The work that our students are doing can open doors to studying potentially revolutionary future technologies like artificial photosynthesis.
As a physics student you'll benefit from a fantastic student to faculty ratio of 3:1. And your coursework will culminate in the completion of a capstone project under the guidance of a faculty advisor. You'll graduate ready for careers in physics, computer science and even finance and business. You'll also be prepared for competitive graduate programs.
Conduct research in labs equipped with advanced technologies like laser spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, rheology, thin films, polymer fluid dynamics and X-ray diffraction. Or study the universe "up close" with our 16-inch Newtonian/Cassegrain telescope in the Brooks Astronomical Observatory.
We've also partnered with Michigan State University to offer you access to the $680 million Faculty for Rare Isotope Beams. Have the chance to research at a facility used by more than 1,000 nuclear physics scientists studying rare isotopes found in stars and supernovae.
Share your love of science with fellow STEM students by living in our Science & Engineering Residential College. Form meaningful relationships and access personalized tutoring, academic advising and career-related programs.
Lastly, gain valuable experience for your future career or graduate program. Many students present their research at national venues. More than 50 percent of our students participate in summer research programs – and a significant portion of those continue as research assistants during the year. As a result of opportunities like these, nearly 100 percent of graduating students secure jobs or gain admittance into graduate programs.
As a physics student here, you'll:
- Join a program in which nearly 100 percent of graduating students secure jobs or gain admittance into graduate programs.
- Take computational physics courses and have access to advanced experimental/computational facilities.
- Have the chance to work alongside professor Marco Fornari's team, which was awarded $8.5 million for their work on replacing rare chemical elements from critical technologies.
- Be eligible to receive the Kenneth Wright Physics, David H. Current, or Kenneth W. And Margaret Cuff Saunders scholarships.
- Meet other aspiring physicists, astronomers, and STEM professionals as a member of the Society of Physics Students.
Careers & Outcomes
With a degree in physics you’ll be prepared for a variety of careers related to physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, finance and more.
Opportunity for CMU students to help with new global research effort
Students have the opportunity to work with faculty from CMU and other universities in 17 countries to understand the origin of the elements and matter that make up our universe.