Think big—or small—or anywhere in between. From subatomic particles to the ever-expanding universe, physics explains the natural phenomena all around us, and serves as the foundation for chemistry, astronomy and many other scientific fields. If you have questions about how the world works, physics is where you’ll find the answers. Whether you want to discover black holes, invent faster computer chips or become a teacher, physics lets you be a force in the world.

What will I learn?

As a physics major, you’ll take courses in chemistry and mathematics, along with classes covering classical mechanics, electricity, magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, quantum mechanics and relativity. 

At UB, we try hard to take the friction out of learning. Demonstration-filled lectures show concepts in action, while hands-on labs give you experience with circuits, forces and other topics, to help you fully understand the underlying phenomena.

Physics BA vs. BS
  • The BA is for students who enjoy physics, but also want a broad education (or may want to be a secondary school teacher).
  • The BS is for students who want to be professional physicists, and is recommended for those considering graduate school.

What can I do outside of class?

At UB, our students are always in motion. Many of them work with faculty on research (yes, even as undergrads). These projects may be theory-based or experiment-based, and cover a range of subjects, such as biological physics, condensed matter physics and high-energy physics.

You can get involved with student clubs and professional organizations, where you’ll be able to make new friends and connections that can help you throughout your career. 

Some of our students have even gone to local schools to get elementary and middle school students excited about physics.

Student Clubs
Real World Learning

What can I do with a physics degree?

From improving health and safety for miners in the U.S., to doing hands-on work for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, our graduates have found success around the globe.

A degree in physics gives you momentum throughout your career and lets you work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Schools and universities. As a teacher or professor, you can work help inspire the next generation of physicists and engineers, often while conducting your own research. 
  • Private companies. From computers to aerospace, many industries rely on physicists to help them create and improve products.
  • Government agencies. The U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense are just two of the organizations that hire physicists to develop new simulation tools, test equipment and perform other critical tasks.
Want to be a teacher?

Be prepared to teach grades 5-12 by getting your bachelor's and master's in just five years through our UB Teach program.

  • Save time and money.
  • No need to apply to graduate school.
  • Be eligible for New York State professional teaching certification.

Visit the department website (at the top of this page) for more details, or see the UB Teach website for a list of all available majors.

Who will I learn from?

At UB, you’ll find exceptional physics teachers, mentors and researchers. As one student said, our faculty’s willingness to give advice and encouragement was “a real springboard that allowed me to successfully apply to Ph.D. programs.”

Our faculty have earned honors for their work from the National Science Foundation and other leading organizations, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and have been named as SUNY Distinguished Professors and American Physical Society Fellows.

Throughout the physics department, we typically have roughly an equal number of theorists (who, as the name suggests, focus on theories about physics) and experimentalists (who conduct experimental measurements to gain new knowledge).

Some majors in this program involve more than one department. To learn more about specific faculty, opportunities and other details for your major, please view the program catalog.