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Academic Overview

The Department of Phyisics and Astronomy at Clemson University focuses on students experiencing firsthand the excitement of discovery, whether studying the behavior of matter or exploring the cosmos. Physics forms the basis of study upon which the other branches of science are founded. Physics is concerned with the fundamental behavior of matter and energy. Clemson’s undergraduate physics curricula provide future scientists and educators with a strong background in the classical areas of physics as well as an introduction to the more important aspects of modern physics. Astronomy studies everything that originates beyond Earth’s atmosphere. More specifically, astronomy studies celestial objects and phenomena, using mathematics, physics and chemistry in order to explain their origin and evolution.


By The Numbers


  • 75 undergraduate students

  • 60 graduate students


  • 40 undergraduate courses

  • 30 graduate courses

Diverse Curriculum

Unique among the department’s diverse curriculum choices are undergraduate specializations in biophysics and in interdisciplinary studies, which allows students and their advisers to design customized curricula that fit their career goals. Many of our faculty are nationally and internationally recognized, as they include among them endowed chairs and fellows of the American Physical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In addition, several of our young faculty members have won prestigious awards and grants.

Headshot of young woman (Jordan Eagle)

“I love my research group and those I work very closely with in my department. Dr. Ajello has been a pillar in my career. The first few years are challenging, but I have come to admire the power of the program and people in the year since completing my written exams.”

Jordan Eagle
Studied High-Energy Astrophysics
Physics and Astronomy

Teaching and Research

The department currently has more than 25 faculty members in its ranks who teach and do research in a broad range of sub-fields, including:

  • Astrophysics.
  • Atomic physics.
  • Atmospheric physics.
  • Biophysics.
  • Condensed-matter physics.
  • Foundational quantum mechanics.

Many Department of Physics and Astronomy undergraduates go on from Clemson to pursue graduate studies at highly ranked programs worldwide; several alumni have reached the highest levels of professional achievement.

Man (Marco Ajello) on side of lake gazing at star-filled sky.


Clemson Scientists Measure All the Starlight Produced by the Universe

From a lakeside vantage point at the Clemson Outdoor Learning Center, Clemson astrophysicist Marco Ajello gazes at the stars. “From data collected by the Fermi telescope, we were able to measure the entire amount of starlight ever emitted,” Ajello says. “This has never been done before. Perhaps one day we will find a way to look all the way back to the Big Bang. This is our ultimate goal.”

Chart Your Future

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy focus on a curricula that provides a strong background in the classical areas of physics and an introduction to modern physics.

Graduate Programs

Graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are engaged at the forefront of research, conducted under the mentorship of our world-class faculty, and also gain valuable teaching experience.

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Department of Physics and Astronomy | 118 Kinard Laboratory, Clemson, SC 29634