Undergraduate Program
Undergraduate Program

Degrees Offered by the Physics & Astronomy Department

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees as well as master's and Ph.D. programs. In the past 12 years, the Physics & Astronomy Department has graduated over 100 undergraduate majors and over 60 Ph.Ds.

Undergraduates preparing for graduate study or a professional career in physics should pursue the Bachelor of Science degree. The Bachelor of Arts degree in physics offers a broader program in science and liberal arts suitable for a variety of preprofessional curricula and for interdisciplinary studies. See the Undergraduate Catalog for a full description of degree requirements.

What to Expect

In addition to a broad education in the laws of physics, you will develop laboratory skills in our state-of-the-art labs. You will also acquire a strong mathematical background (many physics undergraduates have dual majors in physics and mathematics) and a familiarity with computers and modeling.

How to Prepare

You should take as many high school math courses as possible including algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus so you will be ready to take calculus during your first semester.

Taking calculus in high school will, of course, advance your preparation even further. You should also take high school physics and chemistry courses and gain as much experience as you can in laboratory work.

Take a Virtual Tour!

Want to experience what it is like to research in one of our labs? Now you can visit five labs with the Physics & Astronomy 360 Virtual Tour.

Make sure to utilize the full 360 degree space by moving your phone or dragging your desktop cursor up-and-down and side-to-side. Stand up, walk around, and experience each space.

Physics Major Curriculum

The physics major course curriculum for the Bachelor of Science degree is relatively large (about 70 hours) and is highly structured. One course builds on another and courses must be taken in sequence. Thus, it is important to keep track of which courses need to be taken at any given time.

No matter which track an undergraduate chooses to follow, the first two years of coursework in physics and math are identical:

  • First Semester:
    PHYS 201, PHYS 211, PHYS 221, MATH 106
  • Second Semester:
    PHYS 212, PHYS 222, MATH 107
  • Third Semester:
    PHYS 213, PHYS 223, MATH 208
  • Fourth Semester:
    PHYS 231, PHYS 311, MATH 221

Tips for Success as a Physics Major

  • Physics majors should take at least one, and more preferably two, physics courses every semester to graduate within four years.
  • The required math courses should be taken as early as possible. This is especially true for students who are not ready for MATH 106 when they enter the university, as at least concurrent enrollment in that course is required for PHYS 211, the first introductory course for physics majors.
  • Physics majors should consider taking the honors variants of the introductory courses (PHYS 211H, 212H, 213H), even if they are not in the Honors College. These courses are pitched at a slightly higher level than the non-honors versions, and students will be better prepared for upper-level coursework. The honors sections are also smaller, and students will receive more personal attention.

Have Questions?

Faculty Adviser
Martin Centurion
079 Jorgensen Hall

The Faculty Adviser handles more difficult problems and also assists non-majors and prospective majors.

How to Apply

Let curiosity move you to start your story in the College of Arts and Sciences. With over 30 majors in the college alone, specialized programs of study to match any interest area, the opportunity for hands-on experience through our nationally-acclaimed undergraduate research program, and a campus located at the heart of an innovative college city community of over 250,000 people, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers the ideal Big Ten collegiate experience for students at an affordable cost.

Apply now