Physics (B.S./B.A.)

ABOUT

Physics is all about the behavior of matter and energy, and every day is spent looking deeper and deeper into its fundamentals. Classical physics includes mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, acoustics and optics. Modern physics is concerned with the study of atoms and molecules; atomic nuclei; elementary particles; and the properties of liquids, crystalline solids and other materials — as well as the areas of relativity, cosmology and the large-scale structure of the universe. Clemson’s physics program examines each. You can choose to receive a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts — the difference is with the Bachelor of Science you can choose to take a biophysics concentration or an emphasis area in a science or engineering, while the Bachelor of Arts requires more liberal arts classes and includes a minor in any of a large number of subjects. 

FAST FACTS

  • You can choose to get a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in physics.
  • All our students do research in astrophysics, atmospheric and space physics, biophysics, condensed matter and materials physics, and theoretical quantum physics.
  • Our graduates go on to graduate school in physics, medical physics, engineering and biochemistry, as well as to law and medical school.
  • The Bachelor of Arts gives you a chance to learn another field in some depth along with physics.
  • Prepare to be a physical science teacher with our B.A. dual major program with physics teaching in the School of Education.
  • The Bachelor of Arts is an excellent preparation for law school, especially if you are interested in intellectual property or patent law.
  • Our graduates work at NASA, Microsoft, Naval Research Labs and in many other high-profile companies.

WHAT YOU'LL STUDY

Whether you choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in physics in your first year on campus, you’ll be diving into physics, chemistry and calculus classes. Just as physics is a diverse discipline, we offer several ways for you to create a degree program that’s the best fit for your future research and career goals.

Bachelor of Science
The Bachelor of Science coursework will prepare you for graduate study, ultimately leading to a Ph.D., or research and development work in industrial or governmental laboratories. It also provides a good background for graduate study or industrial work in many areas as well as engineering physics and applied science. In this degree program, you’ll also choose an emphasis area in the following areas:

  • chemistry
  • computer science
  • engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • geology
  • mathematical sciences
  • physics and astronomy

Bachelor of Science — Biophysics Concentration
The biophysics concentration is great preparation for medical school or graduate work in the biological sciences because of its flexibility in coursework. Chemistry, biological sciences, genetics, physics and mathematics are all at hand for your personal curriculum.

Bachelor of Science — Interdisciplinary Emphasis
Relatively new at Clemson, this interdisciplinary option allows you to combine your physics education with related fields such as computer science or engineering. You have the choice to complete a recommended curriculum or create your own curriculum plan that will prepare you for graduate school or immediate job entry.

Bachelor of Arts
This program offers a broad-based education in physics along with courses that follow your other interests. By choosing a minor for your Bachelor of Arts degree in physics, you can have the best of both worlds.

Bachelor of Arts in Physics Dual Degree
If you choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, this dual-major program is the best way to prepare for becoming a physical science teacher. Through partnership with the College of Education, this program gives you a solid foundation in physics while developing your professional teaching skills.

Popular Minors

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematical Sciences

EXPERIENCES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

As a physics student, you’ll do research in the lab and in the field — at observatories and even national facilities such as neutron sources.

Each summer, several undergraduate physics majors travel to Paderno, Italy, to study theoretical and experimental surface physics. They engage in hands-on experimental training at the Surface Physics Laboratory of Elettra in Trieste.
For several years, Professor Miguel Larsen has guided Clemson students in NASA-funded research at the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute’s Poker Flat Research Range, Alaska’s center for arctic space and atmospheric research.
Join one of our numerous undergraduate opportunities and faculty-led research teams in the areas of astrophysics, biophysics, advanced materials, nanomaterials, surface and interface nanosciences, solid-state matter and surface structure.
We have a world-class user facility that delivers highly charged ions to targets of many kinds and purposes.

CONNECT WITH OTHER STUDENTS

  • American Physical Society
  • Society of Physics Students

AFTER GRADUATION

Your college decision isn't really about the next four years. We get it. It's about what doors are opened by your degree and whether those opportunities are what you had envisioned for yourself. Here's a snapshot of what life after graduation looks like for some of our most recent students.

WHERE OUR RECENT GRADUATES HAVE GONE

KEY
  • 41-100%
  • 21-40%
  • 11-20%
  • 0-10%

RECENT EMPLOYERS

  • Lab Assistant

    Lexicon Pharmaceuticals
  • Analyst

    Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • Systems Engineer

    General Electric

RECENT POSTGRADUATE STUDIES

  • Ph.D.

    Washington University, St. Louis
  • Ph.D.

    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Master’s

    Georgia Tech

COMMON CAREER AREAS

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Research
    • Writing
    • Public Relations
  • Biophysics
    • Research and Development
  • Condensed Matter
    • Research and Development
  • Geophysics
    • Research and Development
    • Environmental Consulting
    • Law
  • Administration
    • Medical and Health Physics
    • Research and Development
    • Clinical Service
    • Monitoring
    • Enforcement
  • Nuclear Physics
    • Research and Development
    • Instrumentation
    • Law
    • Quality Control
    • Operations and Maintenance
  • Particle and High Energy Physics
    • Research and Development
    • Instrumentation
    • Operations and Maintenance
  • Science Education

Used with permission from the University of Tennessee.

FIND OUT MORE

Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

Celeste Hackett

Undergraduate Student Coordinator
864-656-3418
chacket@clemson.edu

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