Physics focuses on the properties of matter, energy, space, and time. It forms the foundation of all natural sciences and engineering disciplines. Research at Illinois Physics has directly contributed to important milestones in our fundamental understanding of the nature of the universe at all scales, among them, the direct observation of black holes, the discovery of the Higgs boson, the observation of the tau neutrino, tests of quantum communications and computing, physics-based models of evolution, and the characterization of emergent properties of exotic materials.
Established in 1889, shortly after the 1870 founding of The Grainger College of Engineering, the Department of Physics is an integral part of Grainger Engineering. This unconventional pairing has proven advantageous, providing unique perspectives and opportunities to our students, and positioning both the college and the department to solve fundamental problems in science, to develop technological applications, and to address key societal issues.
The Bachelor of Science in Physics, one of the top programs in the nation, offers a flexible program designed for you to meet your educational and professional goals. Our comprehensive curriculum provides a rigorous foundation in physics, mathematics, and laboratory techniques and offers a broad set of elective options. If you are interested in enriching your current degree with physics, the physics minor is a good option. Undergraduates have many opportunities to tackle independent, hands-on research with Illinois Physics faculty. Over half of the undergraduates in our Physics program participate in research. In addition, two unique courses, PHYS 496 Communicating in Physics—Writing Papers and Giving Talks and PHYS 403 Modern Experimental Physics—provide excellent preparation for students seeking to become productive members of research groups.