Physics Major

Students majoring in physics can work toward a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree. The Brandeis University Bulletin describes the requirements for these options in detail.

The core curriculum in physics for a bachelor's degree includes a sequence of six semester courses plus laboratories, starting with Classical Mechanics and ending with Quantum Mechanics. Normally, students take one or more years of mathematics beyond the required courses in calculus.

For the bachelor of science degree, more courses in physics, math and other sciences are required, encouraging students to broaden their preparation for interdisciplinary studies or to strengthen their preparation in physics. Most students preparing for graduate studies pursue the bachelor of science degree.

The bachelor of arts curriculum gives ample time for joint majors in a broad range of fields, including mathematics, computer science, chemistry, biology, biological physics or neuroscience, but also economics, music, philosophy and creative writing, among others.


Electives for the physics major cover a range of topics, both fundamental and of special interest for different career objectives.

The physics major requires three laboratory courses. The advanced labs cover electronics, microprocessors and modern experimental methods. These courses are popular because they explore applications of physics to practical problems.

Some basic electives offered by the department are Statistical Physics, Classical Physics, and Mathematical Physics. More specialized electives include Astrophysics, Condensed Matter Physics, Particle Physics, and Biological Physics.

Research Opportunities

All physics students are strongly encouraged to get involved in research projects. In 2013, several seniors completed thesis research projects in physics, astrophysics and biological physics. The abstracts of these projects are available here.

The physics department's condensed-matter research laboratories are equipped with some of the latest technology for basic research in the physics of fascinating systems, including liquid crystals and biological materials.

The microfluidics laboratory, for example, offers the chance to fabricate novel experimental devices. The high-energy experimental physics group has opportunities for work on new particle detectors for the accelerator at CERN in Switzerland and for studies of experimental design and data analysis.

The radio astronomy group uses a combination of telescopes worldwide to make high-resolution images of active galactic nuclei, involving massive black holes and relativistic jets of matter. The theory group studies the fundamentals of quantum theory and string theory; the properties of DNA, proteins and other biological materials; the structure and dynamics of glasses; the flow of granular material; and the regulation of genetic systems in living cells.

The rules for Physics 99D, Senior Research, may be found here.