What can you do with a physics degree?

Studying physics can lead to many career opportunities, which is why we’ve developed programs that ensure students work toward an intentional career path. From a BA in physics to a BS in engineering physics, our students are able to tailor their education to their career goals. Students pursue a wide variety of careers in research at government laboratories, design and development in industrial or engineering firms, computer hardware and software applications, education, and additional graduate studies. 

Why Physics at CU Boulder?

CU Boulder’s Department of Physics is home to top-ranked scholarship and inventive research that is collaborative, lively and accessible to all.

We believe physics can be studied by all who have a strong sense of curiosity. Our internationally renowned and approachable faculty teach fundamental concepts of physics that are applied to collaborative, hands-on experimentation in world-class labs. Students of all academic levels can choose to join a research team where they work alongside peers and faculty on cutting-edge projects. 

  • 54% of graduating physics students engage in hands-on research with faculty
  • Intro physics courses designed specifically for our majors
  • Community and support from a wide range of physics student organizations
  • One-on-one mentoring with physics faculty every semester

BA in Physics or BS in Engineering Physics?

The Department of Physics offers two physics majors. Both majors require the same set of required physics courses taught by the same faculty, and both prepare students for additional graduate studies or careers. Curious about the differences?

  • Offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, the bachelor of arts in physics includes a 45 credit hour physics sequence that prepares students for a wide variety of careers or future graduate study.  
  • Coursework
    • 45 credit hours of physics courses
    • 16-21 credit hours of mathematics
    • 10 credit hours of chemistry
    • Arts & Sciences General Education Requirements
  • Plans of Study
    • Plan 1 - primarily for students planning to pursue graduate studies
    • Plan 2 - interdisciplinary or applied physics includes the combination of a physics major with a focus in another area such as astrophysics, atmospheric sciences, applied mathematics, biophysics, chemical physics, computer science, environmental sciences, geophysics, philosophy and history of science, and pre-medicine.
    • Plan 3 - prepares students to become secondary school teachers by combining a physics major with a teaching licensure from the School of Education
  • Students complete the general education requirements through the College of Arts and Sciences with exposure to a wide range of humanities and social sciences.

  • The bachelor of science in engineering physics is a major in the College of Engineering and Applied Science with 45 credit hours of required physics courses supplemented by a set of engineering electives.
  • Coursework
    • 45 credit hours of physics courses
    • 19 credit hours of applied mathematics
    • 10 credit hours of chemistry
    • 25 credit hours of engineering electives and computer science
    • 18 credit hours of humanities & social sciences
    • 11 credit hours of free electives
  • Engineering electives can be focused in one discipline, or in a breadth of different departments to tailor the degree to future plans.
  • Engineering physics students complete the Humanities & Social Sciences requirements in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to round out their degree.