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Physics and Astronomy B.S.

UNC’s physics degree offers rigorous preparation for careers in engineering, astronomy, theoretical physics, STEM education and related subjects. Our student-centered physics program features small classes and highly attentive faculty, while empowering you to pursue your own research under faculty supervision or collaboration with senior investigators.

You have the option of focusing your physics bachelor’s degree in one of four emphasis areas—astronomy, engineering, mathematical physics or secondary teaching. Whether or not you decide to specialize in an emphasis area, you’ll work closely with Ph.D. faculty inside and outside the classroom, with plenty of opportunities and rewards for taking initiative and showing creativity. UNC’s physics program enables you to showcase your talent and ideas, gain direct experience and build a strong resume for graduate school or the job market.

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Physics with an engineering emphasis is a unique field that uses the principles
of physics to develop new technologies and innovations and find solutions to
common engineering problems. Download our Physics and Astronomy Career Guide

Degree Options

B.S. in Physics

The degree focuses on the laws and principles of physics through a basics core of physics and support courses. Students can select from elective courses at the junior-senior level to tailor the program to their interests and future goals. Students develop a skill set and knowledge that prepare them for careers in industry and research laboratories or graduate studies in physics, engineering, health and related fields.

Major Requirements

B.S. in Physics: Engineering Physics

The engineering emphasis prepares you to succeed in one of the most dynamic segments of the job market. UNC’s applied, research-oriented approach allows you to enter the job market with concrete achievements on your resume, giving you a competitive edge over other first-time job applicants. Choose this physics degree emphasis if your career interests lie in areas such as civil engineering, aerospace engineering, computer science, industrial technology or similar fields. The engineering emphasis also offers a strong foundation for graduate studies in engineering.

Major Requirements

B.S. in Physics: Secondary Teaching

UNC’s recent graduates from this emphasis area have a 100 percent job placement rate as STEM educators. You’ll learn advanced physics content while gaining direct experience in teaching, classroom management and educational psychology. The program includes a student teaching component, along with all the prerequisites you’ll need to earn a teaching license. STEM educators are in high demand nationwide, so you’ll find abundant job opportunities.

Major Requirements

B.S. in Physics: Mathematical Physics

This emphasis provides you with rigorous academic grounding in physics, in preparation for graduate study in physics or careers in applied mathematics. Specified and elective mathematics courses are added to the physics core courses.

Major Requirements

B.S. in Physics: Astronomy

The astronomy concentration offers a pathway into careers in astronomy, astrophysics and related areas.

Major Requirements

Minor Option

Physics Minor

UNC’s Physics Minor will give you additional exposure in physics and complements a major in chemistry, earth science, biology or mathematics. You’ll need a total of 32 to 34 credits to complete the minor.

Minor Requirements 

Your Future in Physics

Our bachelor’s degree in physics provides you with a foundation to enter some of the world’s most exciting, fastest-growing industries. Physics and engineering expertise is highly sought by employers in the energy sector, health care technology, telecommunications, information technology, manufacturing and many other industries. STEM teachers are also in very high demand, as education leaders strive to prepare U.S. students for science- and technology-oriented careers.

Consider UNC's B.S. in Physics if you want to:

  • Apply your math skills
  • Explore your passion for science
  • Work as a teacher, faculty member, engineer or professional in high-tech industry
  • Pursue research as an undergraduate

You’ll learn:

  • Principles of physics
  • How to design and conduct experiments
  • Scientific writing and presentation
  • Classroom instruction and management

Sample courses:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Optics
  • Electricity and Magnetism

Beyond the Classroom

UNC’s physics degree stands out for its multiple upper-level lab experiences and opportunities in research and independent study. You’ll have exceptional opportunities to assist faculty-led research and conduct your own investigations. You’ll also get hands-on experience with high-tech equipment and specialized instrumentation in optics, robotics, imaging, audio, nanoscience, astronomy and other subdisciplines.

Where can your degree take you?

  • Graduate school in physics, engineering, astronomy or related disciplines
  • Employment in a high-tech sector such as energy, aerospace or health care
  • STEM education (grades 7 through 12)
  • Product research and development
  • Entrepreneurship

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