Physics is the part of science that deals primarily with the inanimate world and is concerned with identifying its fundamental and unifying principles, setting a foundation for engineering and other sciences. In physics, the basic concepts, laws and measuring techniques have been developed in broad areas such as mechanics, heat, thermodynamics, wave motion, acoustics and optics.

At Clarkson, the physics undergraduate bachelor's degree program will give you a strong understanding of these concepts, laws and techniques and give you the skill set to apply them to many different knowledge areas and disciplines. 

The physics major has a student to faculty ratio of around 5:1, promoting an informal, relaxed atmosphere for learning. With the small class sizes, you will gain hands-on experience with large scale computing, photovoltaic devices, biosensors, optical and electronic signal processing, computer interfacing, data acquisition and much more. Plus, the technical skills you will acquire by using our incredible, state-of-the-art facilities will boost your competitive advantages in the job market.

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Physics Careers

With your undergraduate bachelor's degree in physics from Clarkson, you can choose a career in business, industry or government, working in

  • design
  • research
  • quality control
  • development scientist
  • engineering

Clarkson graduate physics majors have been employed by IBM, General Electric, General Dynamics, Hewlett Packard, Texas Instruments, Intel Corp., Eastman Kodak, U.S. Air Force, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to graduate schools such as Cornell University, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, Duke University, Boston University, the University of Rochester, Georgia Tech, Rice University, Carnegie-Mellon University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

You may choose to pursue a teaching profession. If you want to continue on to higher education, you can enter graduate school not only in physics, but also in mathematics, chemistry, engineering and business administration, or you can continue in a professional program, such as in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy or law.

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Physics Curriculum & Academic Options

Major in Physics

The core physics undergraduate curriculum is 35 credit hours, flexible and allowing for multidisciplinary studies. Our physics majors take courses such as:

  • Physics for Life Sciences
  • Fundamentals of Modern Physics
  • Physical Models of Living Systems
  • Experimental Physics
  • Quantum Physics
  • Theoretical Mechanics
  • Relativity
  • Optics
  • Thermal Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Biophysics
  • Intro to Astrophysics

Physics Major Curriculum


The Department of Physics also offers a minor in physics, which is open to all Clarkson students except physics majors. Physics majors have the opportunity to explore minors that will complement the physics bachelor's degree. View our recommendations below or learn more about all of Clarkson's minors, concentrations and professional advising tracks.

Physics Minor

Mathematics Minor

Software Engineering Minor

Statistics Minor

All Clarkson Minors, Concentrations and Tracks

"I chose physics as my major because I felt it combines my science and math aptitudes along with my problem-solving skills very well. I then decided to add my electrical engineering major because I wanted to challenge myself and gain more knowledge in different fields."

Experiential Learning

Research Opportunities

Physics majors near the end of their second year identify research projects in their areas of concentration and continue to work on the projects until graduation. Often, their research leads to publication in internationally recognized scientific journals. By participating in research, our physics majors attend regional and national conferences.

Through the network you develop, and also through the large network of our successful alumni, you learn who is interested in hiring people like you. With the recommendation of your faculty supervisor, you may get a chance to spend a semester at one of the prestigious National Laboratories, where you can make more contacts with prospective employers and gain experience that becomes an impressive feature of your resume. In recent years, our physics majors have worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, CERN and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Faculty research areas in the Department of Physics include astrophysics, biological physics, surface and interface physics, optics, physics education, photovoltaic devices, nanomaterials and quantum computation. As an undergraduate, you have opportunities to participate in the ongoing research activities in these areas.

Internship and Co-op Opportunities

Internship and co-op opportunities for physics majors include the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) or community projects clearly related to the student’s professional goals. Internships, co-ops and directed research can be used to fulfill the professional experience requirement of the physics bachelor's degree program.

Recent summer REUs and internships by our physics majors include the following, listed as subject (institute/company):

Experimental particle physics REU (Duke University/CERN); software quality engineering (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics); engineering internship (C&S Companies); engineering internship (SP Manufacturing); computational biophysics REU (Lehigh University); advanced fuel cells REU (McNair Program, Clarkson University); nuclear physics REU (Duke University); astrophysics REU (Clarkson University); biological physics REU (Clarkson University); quantum optics REU (Friedrich-Alexander Universität).

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