Undergraduate Studies

Physics is a natural science that is concerned with the natural world and deals with the properties of matter, energy and radiation. The goal of physics is to understand how nature works from the subatomic level to the cosmological level, including particles such as photons, quarks, electrons, atoms, molecules, gases, liquids, metals, semiconductors, nanomaterials, polymers,  living systems, planets, stars, black holes and galaxies.

Pursuing a degree in physics will allow you to learn the fundamentals of physics and acquire a strong set of mathematical tools, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, a strong set of experimental techniques, and the skills in conducting scientific research.

A physics major prepares students for a wide range of careers. Many physics majors further their education by going to graduate school in physics. Many other physics majors successfully pursue graduate degrees in other disciplines including chemistry, mathematics, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.  A major in physics also prepares students for a wide range of careers in industry, medicine, law, teaching, biotechnology, programming, finance, and consulting. 

The Department of Physics and Materials Science at the University of Memphis offers bachelor's degrees in the following concentrations:

  • General Physics – recommended for students interested in learning the foundations of physics with career goals in areas such as physics, research, teaching, industry, law et cetera
  • Astronomy - recommended for students interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology
  • Materials Science – recommended for students interested in industry and research
  • Physics for Medical Sciences – recommended for students interested in medical physics, medical school, optometry, medical industry, and health professions

In addition, the Department of Physics and Materials Science offers the following programs:

  • Second Major in Physics – for students pursuing a bachelor of science in other disciplines such as engineering, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and biology, who are interested in broadening their knowledge of physics and expanding their problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Accelerated BS/MS – recommended for students with very good standing who are also interested in pursuing a graduate degree in physics.
  • Minor in Physics – for students who are not majoring in physics but are interested to expand their understanding of physics beyond the introductory level.

Undergraduate research is an integral part of our curriculum. We encourage all students pursuing a BS in physics to explore their options in pursuing research with a faculty member starting at the freshman level. The Department of Physics and Materials Science offers many unique undergraduate research courses, two of which are required. Through our program students have the opportunity to participate in cutting edge theoretical, computational, or experimental research using our state-of-the-art facilities.

If you need further information about our undergraduate programs, please contact the Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Dr. Thang Hoang, at 901.678.3122 or tbhoang@memphis.edu.

 If you would like to receive an in-person or virtual tour of our facilities please contact Dr. Gustav Borstad at 901.678.4139 or gustav.borstad@memphis.edu.