College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Long Night of Arts & Innovation

Undergraduate Program


The goal of the Physics Degree program is to educate, and inspire students with a passion for science in general and physics in particular so they become creative thinkers and can fulfill their full potential as global citizens. Our undergraduate program provides a rigorous background in basic physics through coursework and encourages the students to participate in leading edge research with faculty. The education will provide the students with science based mathematical, writing and analytical skills, prepared to join the technologically trained workforce in a broad range of fields such as education, medicine, law, engineering or science in industry, academia and government.

Ten Reasons to Major in Physics & Astronomy at UCR

  1. Get to know the faculty and each other well. 
    Our department has small upper division class sizes with individual mentoring from faculty.
  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 Brookhaven National Laboratory).  We have a similar number of physics faculty to other UC campuses but the number of physics majors is significantly smaller (about 20-30 seniors) than other UC campuses (>150 seniors for Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, and UCSB).  This means your access to undergraduate research is five times better at UCR!  Undergraduate research experience is essential for admission to graduate school in physics.
  4. Have a faculty advisor on day one. 
    The department has several 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 degree options. 
    In addition to a Standard Track, we offer four specialty tracks within the major to give students the flexibility to dive deeper into one of these areas: Applied Physics and Engineering, Biophysics, Astrophysics, and Physics Education.  Each track makes adjustments to the degree requirements that allow students to take more classes in a specific area of interest.
  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 LaboratoryLos 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-DCprograms (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.
  • A degree in physics is excellent training for high-paying careers in tech. Our combination of mathematical training, inquiry-based science, laboratory and programming skills make physicists well equipped to succeed in Silicon Valley.


Undergraduate Advising Committee

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



More about the Undergraduate Program:


Freshmen and Transfer Admissions

Paths to Admission



Pete Berru
CNAS Academic Advising Center 
University of California, Riverside 
Riverside, CA 92521 
Telephone: (951) 827-2807



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