Department of Physics & Astronomy

Undergraduate Program

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Ten Reasons to Major in Physics & Astronomy at UCR

  1. Get to know the faculty and each other well.
    UCR Department of Physics & Astronomy has 30 faculty and 25-30 freshman majors in the department: small class sizes, more access to faculty, closer interaction with each other.
  2. Learn to think like a scientist from excellent faculty who are creating new science everyday.
    All physics lecture courses are taught by ladder-rank faculty who bring their passion for physics to the classroom.
  3. Learn to create new knowledge with extraordinary access to undergraduate research.
    70% of graduating UCR Physics majors have performed undergraduate research with our faculty either on campus or off campus (e.g. at CERN).
  4. Have a faculty advisor on day one.
    The department has five faculty advisors prepared to help students at each stage of their education - from getting the right courses freshman year to career planning and graduate school applications senior year. CNAS college staff advisors keep students on track for graduation and provide all other advising services.
  5. Flexible BA/BS options.
    Currently we are offering both Biophysics Track and Physics Education Track within the major which is tailored to the needs of students with a strong interest in Bio/Medical Physics and Physics Education.
  6. UC System and Astronomy advantages.
    Students and faculty have unique opportunities to access the UC telescopes -Lick and Keck observatories (UC Observatories), to participate in UC-Lab collaborations with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
  7. Other UCR and UC System advantages.
    Students have an option to participate in UC Education Abroad programs with 140 institutions worldwide and UC-DC programs (study in Washington, DC).
  8. UCR Chapter of the Society of Physics Students.
    Students actively participate in national SPS organization which provides opportunities for student leadership, organizing events, shaping the undergraduate education for physics majors.
  9. Opportunities for teaching, tutoring, outreach and community service.
    The department offers paid positions as student instructors for Introductory physics courses and tutors for introductory courses. Physics majors are actively involved in K-12 and public outreach activities in the Inland Empire promoting Physics especially in high schools.
  10. Dedicated space in the Physics building for majors.
    A 500 sq ft office space and an additional dedicated computer room are set aside for Physics majors to study and socialize within the Physics building.

Career Opportunities for Physics Majors

  • Physics is essential to our society. Physicists have right skills needed to solve real-world problems such as energy, climate change, medical technologies, defense and homeland security, and etc.
  • Look here to get an idea of what careers our undergraduate physics alumni have gone into.
  • Physics BS/BA's have many career options (see figures below). See more statistics at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) website.
  • Industrial job opportunities currently available to physicists, search on the word "physics".
  • Want to be a doctor?  Or a lawyer?  Major in physics!  Physics majors on average do substantially better than most other majors on the MCAT medical school admissions test.  Physics majors on average do better than all other majors on the LSAT law school admission test.  See the details here.  The data were collected and reported by the American Institute of Physics.
  • Want to be the next Elon Musk (founder of SpaceX, SolarCity, and Tesla Motors)?  Study physics!  At the end of this interview, he attributes his success to thinking like a physicist.  He discusses this more in an interview with APS News.

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Undergraduate Advising Committee

The Undergraduate Advising Committee Consists of the following physics faculty members:

More about the Undergraduate Program:

Freshmen Admissions


Michelle Butler
CNAS Academic Advising Center
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521
Telephone: (951) 827-3581
FAX: (951) 827-3102
Email: michelle.butler@ucr.edu

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Physics & Astronomy
Physics Building

Main Office Tel: (951) 827-5331
Main Office Fax: (951) 827-4529
Maynard, Bonnie; Chair's Assistant, Academic Personnel
E-mail: bonnie.maynard@ucr.edu