Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Physics
When you look at the world, do you often find yourself asking How? and Why? and What if? If so, a degree in physics might be for you.
Physics is the study of the laws that govern the physical world, from quarks to tsunamis, from black holes to blue skies. Its concepts are fundamental to geology, chemistry and the life sciences, and to much of the technology that shapes our lives.
You can pursue the rigorous Bachelor of Science degree, which requires more courses in physics, math and other sciences, giving you the depth to pursue more intensive studies in the physical sciences.
You can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, which gives you a solid grounding in physics while allowing you to study — and even double major in — another field of your choice, from mathematics to philosophy and anything in between.
The highly ranked Martin A. Fisher School of Physics at Brandeis University has an international reputation for excellence in research. This, combined with Brandeis’ commitment to fostering close faculty-student interaction, means you’ll have direct access to physicists who are changing the world through research — and you’ll contribute to their research as you work side by side.
Because we’re located just outside of Boston, a major locus of physics research and home to some of the world’s best universities, you’ll be exposed to a steady stream of distinguished speakers and important colloquia.
Our undergraduate program in physics will prepare you for more in-depth study in the field, or for an exciting career in the public or private sector — in sustainable energy, for example, or nanotechnology.
Academics and Research
You might choose the interdisciplinary biological physics major, an innovative program that combines physics, mathematics and biology.
If an engineering degree is what you’re after, check out the dual-degree program offered by Brandeis University and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University.
If you wish to conduct interdisciplinary research at the interface of the physical and life sciences, check out our unique Quantitative Biology Research Community program for undergraduates.
We also offer a minor in physics, if you’re interested in exploring the main concepts of the field without the requirements of a major.
Whichever Brandeis physics degree you pursue (including a minor), you will be strongly encouraged to conduct research — and the majority of Brandeis physics majors do, working side-by-side with faculty and graduate students. Our department boasts several laboratories outfitted with the latest technologies and state-of-the-art equipment. You can be part of one of the many research groups focusing on microfluids, condensed matter, radio astronomy, string theory, the early universe, and a number of other topics.
Many academic or paid-research positions throughout your time at Brandeis can result in a capstone or senior thesis. Recent senior theses have surveyed high-redshift quasars, new approaches to theoretical questions in physics, and thermal fluctuations, by students who have gone on to do excellent work in physics, applied engineering, and teaching.
Faculty and Student Excellence
Physics research at Brandeis is supported by millions of dollars from such prestigious funding organizations as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the Simons Foundation and the Howard Hughes Foundation.
Our faculty are consistently recognized for their work in physics and have received the Heineman Prize from the American Physics Society, the John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Alvin Tollestrup Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal, to name just a few of their many honors.
As a student of physics at Brandeis, you’ll enjoy regular collaboration with your professors and hands-on experience in the lab, often resulting in co-authorship on scientific journals. In fact, many of our undergraduate students have been co-authors on papers in journals such as Astrophysical Journal, Soft Matter, Physical Review and the Journal of Instrumentation.
Beyond the Classroom
Brandeis students participate in a number of clubs all across the university, but the physics department has its own Physics Club and Astronomy Club. Members meet regularly to discuss concepts in physics, organize lectures and trips and direct projects with the local community.
Many physics students at Brandeis participate in summer research on campus and in many institutions across the country, with projects funded by the National Science Foundation. You can also obtain a paid research position in one of our research groups — another great opportunity for hands-on learning, to reinforce what you’re learning in the classroom.
Careers, Graduate Study and Alumni
Our alumni have gone on to become distinguished researchers at academic, private, and governmental institutions, working in nanotechnology and energy conservation, for example.
As a physics major at Brandeis, you will be equipped with the methodological tools and conceptual insight of the field, preparing you well to pursue graduate work at universities across the U.S. and globally.
Dan Grober ’70 is a professor of applied physics at Yale University.
Olaf Olafsson ’83 is a novelist and an executive VP for international and corporate strategy at Time Warner.
Daniel Needleman ’98 is an associate professor of applied physics and cellular biology at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School.
Michael Robinson ’95 is an intellectual property attorney at an immuno-oncology company.
Elana Fertig ’03 is an instructor in oncology biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University.
Our younger alums include current PhD candidates in programs across the country, a technician at the Large Hadron Collider, an electrical engineer, and a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.