About the major
Students of UT Austin physics learn about the physical world and work directly with researchers involved with the discovery of new knowledge. They learn skills of analysis and basic facts of our universe, which further enable them to become adept at a broad range of problem identification and solution skills. From the smallest forms of matter to the rich phenomena present in our everyday lives and the universe itself, topics in physics advance understanding and the tools of the physics learner—observation, imagination, model building, prediction and deduction—are honed at UT Austin.
Learn more about our undergraduate offerings
Students may focus on one of several options within physics. For those especially interested in astrophysics, it’s recommended to major in both astronomy and physics, which is easily done with four additional upper-division courses.
Physics, the general degree, is designed to give students a strong foundation for graduate study, work in physics or work in a variety of other areas. This is Physics, Option 1.
Computation provides the necessary foundation and hands-on skills in computation for the student who plans a career or further study in computational physics or computer science. This is Physics, Option 2.
Radiation Physics is designed to provide the necessary foundation for the student who plans a career or further study in nuclear engineering, radiation engineering or health physics. This is Physics, Option 3.
Space Sciences provides the necessary foundation for the student who plans a career or further study in space sciences and is often a choice of astronomy-physics double-majors. This is Physics, Option 4.
Biophysics offers opportunities for learning about and modeling “the physics of life,” through quantitative studies of structure, assembly and function of biological macromolecules; transport of energy, ions and small and large molecules across membranes; signaling; and mechanics of cells. This is Physics, Option 7.
Students may also opt for physics honors (Option 6), to specialize in teaching (Option 5), or for a B.A. or B.S.A. degree.
Courses Physics Majors Take
Get a sense for some of the courses that many of our majors take below. A more complete list for each catalog may be found when you search for your degree option by the year of entry or catalog.
Natural Sciences students declare a degree and a major after receiving passing grades in key courses. For physics, these are typically:
- Math: Differential and Integral Calculus (M 408C)/Sequences, Series, and Multivariable Calculus (M 408D)
- Physics: Mechanics (PHY 301) /Laboratory for Physics 301 (PHY 101L),
Examples of Courses
Students take additional courses in physics and other disciplines, such as:
- Modern Physics and Thermodynamics
- Classical Dynamics and Classical Electrodynamics
- Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics
- Quantum Physics
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Wave Motion and Optics