Undergraduate Programs

Why Physics?

Physics is the branch of knowledge that attempts to explain all of the phenomena we observe or infer on earth and in the universe. Its study has made possible a modern understanding of the origin of the universe as well as the behavior of biological materials and chemical processes. Scientists trained in this field can engage in such diverse areas as solid state devices, particle physics, energy and the environment, biotechnology, and space travel.

Physics at Portland State

  • Three degree pathways are offered- Standard, Biomedical, and Environmental
  • Research opportunities in a variety of fields including: materials physics and nanotechnology, biomedical and biophysics, climate science, physics education, and theory.
  • Coursework that covers force and motion, heat, optics, electricity, magnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, and the physical properties of materials, both theoretical and experimental.
  • Close ties with the Engineering Departments, local industry, and summer research programs

What does an undergraduate degree in Physics prepare you for?

  • Physicists are employed by almost all industries
  • Students often go on to complete graduate degrees in areas such as biophysics, material science, atmospheric physics, environmental science, and medical physics
  • Undergraduate work in Physics also prepares you for entry into programs such as electrical engineering, nuclear engineering, and computer science
  • In addition to a traditional graduate curriculum in physics or astronomy, you will be prepared for further work or research in optics, applied physics, engineering, and education.
  • Many physicists are entrepreneurs who start their own companies.

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