Students in class

As a physics major you will study matter and energy and their interactions. Physics is not just a body of knowledge— it is a set of approaches that will allow you to solve all kinds of problems. Physics seeks to describe the most basic features of a system and the underlying general rules that govern them. These rules are powerful tools for understanding that system and similar ones that you may encounter later.

Beyond the core curriculum of physics, math and chemistry coursework, dive deep into one of four options based on your interest.


  • Computational Physics for coursework in computer science in addition to physics
  • Materials Physics for coursework in chemistry and materials science in addition to physics
  • Optics and Lasers for employment or graduate study in optical or laser physics or related engineering disciplines
  • Professional for the broadest study in experimental physics and astronomy

Academics + Experience = Opportunities

Complement academic preparation with experiential learning, creating more opportunities after graduation. Talk to an academic advisor and a career coach about making the most of your time at Nebraska.


Four-year success plan
What to do each year


Major requirements and courses


Printable summary
With sample four-year schedule

Transferrable Career Skills

  • Make predictions using mathematical, statistical, and scientific modeling methods
  • Conduct and present research to large and small groups
  • Apply mathematical and scientific skills to solve real-world problems
  • Analyze and explain data
  • Collaborate with a team to develop solutions
  • Compose convincing arguments and present logical information
  • Comprehend and critically evaluate complex information
  • Define problems and identifying causes
  • Design and implement research experiments
  • Develop and defend evidence based arguments


Experience is valuable and goes beyond the classroom. We strive to help you connect your academics with research, internships, education abroad, service learning and leadership experiences in physics, such as:

  • Interning with Holland Computing
  • Learn more about internships
  • Studying abroad in Iceland to learn about renewable energy and sustainability
  • Learn more about education abroad
  • Serving as the UNL Society of Physics Students president
  • Learn more about getting involved in student organizations
  • Volunteering with the Holmes Lake Observatory
  • Learn more about service learning


Because the study of physics develops such strong analytical skills, physicists go into a wide variety of careers such as engineering, law, medicine, computer science and information technology, optical and laser science and materials science. Many physicists work in government or industrial laboratories, but some start their own businesses.

Examples of Alumni Careers

  • Process Engineer I, Garmin
  • Research Assistant, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Science Teacher 9-12, Millard Public Schools
  • Science Teacher, Lincoln Public Schools
  • Software Developer Engineer, CSG International
  • Software Developer, Applied Underwriters
  • Systems Programmer, Bryan Health
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • Technician, J.A. Woollam

Examples of Graduate Schools Attended by Alumni

  • Ph.D., Physics, Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Astronomy, University of California-Berkeley
  • Ph.D., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of California-San Diego
  • Ph.D., Physics, Twin Cities-University of Minnesota
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Master's Degree, Science Teaching, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Alex Rau

“Physics 211 changed the way I saw everyday occurrences by understanding what actually happens versus what I thought made sense before.”

Alex Rau

Physics at Nebraska

Contact Us


Academic and Career Advising Center
107 Oldfather Hall