Undergraduate Program

Physics is the scientific study of the fundamental principles governing the behavior of matter and the interaction of matter and energy. As the most fundamental of sciences, physics provides a foundation for other scientific fields. The Physics Department is unique because of the breadth of its faculty expertise and research and the relatively intimate size of Its classes above the introductory level.

Key Aspects of a Physics Degree

A degree in physics allows a student to develop very specific knowledge:

  • an understanding of the key laws of physics and how to apply them in various settings
  • an appreciation for the complementary roles that experiment and theory play in the intellectual development of the field

while strengthening more general skills:

  • a deep capacity for critical quantitative reasoning
  • the ability to formulate a scientific question or problem
  • the ability to communicate effectively

Teaching and Research Integration

There are 31 members of the physics faculty and about 100 graduate students in the department. Since we currently enroll about 15-20 new physics concentrators each year, the faculty-to-student ratio is quite high and opportunities for faculty interaction are abundant. All of the professors teach in addition to carrying out research programs, and all courses are taught by professors.

In our labs and seminars, you will find a lively mix of faculty, graduate students and undergraduates all working together with a common love of physics. There are many outstanding research opportunities at Brown at the forefront of the most important areas of physics.

Contact the Physics Concentration Advisor or the Student Affairs Manager for additional information and answers to your questions about the concentration:

Undergraduate Concentration Advisor

Student Affairs Manager

Life After Brown

Physics provides an excellent basis for many areas of continued study (including applied mathematics, astronomy, biophysics, computer science, engineering, neuroscience and materials science) and preparation for work in a wide variety of fields (such as business and finance, industrial research, law, product development, medicine and entrepreneurship).

About two-thirds of our seniors go on to graduate study in physics or related fields at leading graduate schools, and the rest are employed by industry, consulting or financial firms, start-ups, NGOs and government. 

Visit the American Institute of Physics for more information about employment opportunities and compensation in physics.