Physics

What is Physics?

As the most basic of the natural sciences, physics helps us to understand phenomena in terms of fundamental principles, and to apply those principles to the solution of specific problems. In so doing, physics leads us to a deeper understanding of natural phenomena and to such technological advances as the use of lasers to heal the retina of the eye or restore a work of art. It guides us in making difficult decisions such as determining the best procedures for energy production now and in the future, or the best means for reducing the amount of pollutants produced by industries and industrial products.

The Department of Physics offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, a minor in Physics, and a minor in Astronomy and Planetary Science. The BS prepares students for graduate study in physics, other physical sciences, and engineering, and for laboratory research positions and careers in advanced technology industries. The BA, with fewer required physics courses and more physics, mathematics, science, and engineering electives than the BS, gives students a basic knowledge of the physical sciences that can be applied to careers in the natural, behavioral, and social sciences (such as economics), or in industry. It is excellent preparation for law and medical school.

There is great flexibility in paths to a degree in physics at UCSB. The standard program, which is in the College of Letters and Science (L&S), leads to either a BA or BS degree. The BS program is for those aiming for a career in physics, while the BA is a more flexible program allowing more courses from other areas. Within the BS program there are three possible schedules of courses - a standard track, an advanced track, and an honors track - leading to a degree in four years. These tracks include increasingly more electives and undergraduate research.

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