Curricula and Programs

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, develop technological applications, and address key societal issues.

The Department of Physics currently offers several degree programs. Our core program is ENGINEERING PHYSICS.

 Engineering Physics

Bachelor of Science Degree in Grainger Engineering

Engineering Physics is our core physics curriculum for students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is a rigorous program in fundamental Physics. In addition to courses in theoretical physics, this program offers advanced laboratory courses supported by Grainger Engineering surcharge funds. It is also very flexible, allowing electives that can be used to create custom programs combining Physics with other disciplines and training in technical areas. Students interested in attending graduate school in Physics or other STEM fields, and/or pursuing careers in physics should apply to Grainger Engineering for the Engineering Physics degree program.

We are currently in the process of creating a NEW Applied Physics curriculum that will combine fundamental physics with training in technical areas, participation in design projects, involvement in entrepreneurial activities, and opportunities for internships with participating industrial partners. We anticipate the finalized version of this program to be available for enrollment within the next few years.

 Engineering Physics with a Secondary Education Minor

Bachelor of Science Degree in Grainger Engineering with a Minor in the College of Education

Students who plan to become high-school physics teachers should enroll in our premier physics curriculum in Grainger Engineering and in the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching in the College of Education. This curriculum fulfills state requirements to teach both high school physics and general science. The Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in STEM-field teaching methodologies, and there is no better program on campus to prepare future high-school science teachers.

We also have three cross-college programs for students with a desire to combine a background in Physics with other disciplines and interests, managed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Physics Concentration in LAS Science and Letters

Bachelor of Science Degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The physics concentration in the LAS Science and Letters curriculum provides a solid training in physics but also allows space for electives which can be selected to create a physics-based educational program in a wide variety of interdisciplinary fields.


Specialized Physics Curriculum

Bachelor of Science Degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The LAS Specialized Physics curriculum incorporates our rigorous Science and Letters curriculum, rich in fundamental physics, mathematics, and laboratory technique, with a classical liberal arts education that includes a heavy concentration of physics courses.


Physics Teaching Concentration

Bachelor of Science Degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

In addition to a firm foundation in physics, mathematics, and basic laboratory techniques, the Physics Teaching Concentration curriculum incorporates training in modern STEM-subject teaching pedagogies. If you plan to pursue a career in teaching physics, your completion of this concentration will fulfill state certification requirements to teach both physics and general science.


Minor in Physics

In Grainger Engineering

Physics and technology go hand in hand, with physics providing the foundation for a broad range of technical fields.