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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Physics

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Satisfy your curiosity about the universe, from the largest astronomical scale to the smallest subnuclear particle. Physics will help you strengthen your quantitative reasoning skills and problem-solve through experimentation, simulation and analytical tools.

Physics is concerned with the most basic principles that underlie all phenomena in the universe.

Physicists explain the behavior of matter and energy in terms of mathematical representations called the “fundamental laws of nature.” They study the properties of nuclei, atoms, molecules and systems of these particles (gases, liquids, crystals, etc.).

Physics is the foundation of the physical sciences and is the basis for much of engineering and technology. A deep understanding of the makeup of the world around you and how it works provides a foundation to succeed in a technology-infused world.

Undergraduate courses provide a background in classical physics, quantum mechanics and laboratory techniques.

What can I do with a physics degree?

Your physics training in the concepts and methods of science can be applied to many professional areas. You will have the background to work in state-of-the-art laboratories equipped with advanced instrumentation. You can go on to further study and an advanced degree in physics, engineering, or other sciences. Or you can use your skills in education or other fields such as:

  • Medicine
  • Law
  • Computer engineering
  • Finance
  • Software development
  • Policymaking
  • Consulting
  • Manufacturing

Undergraduate research.

Undergraduate research is an integral part of the learning experience that reinforces and amplifies skills you acquire in the classroom.

An undergraduate researcher interacts with faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. You will join research group meetings, research seminars and departmental discussions. An undergraduate research project is a genuine distinction which gives you a leg up with employers and graduate school admissions officers.

In the Department of Physics, you can get hands-on experience on a variety of topics that will familiarize you with advanced research techniques and more. A number of undergraduate and graduate research opportunities are available ranging from experimental astrophysics to soft matter and biophysics.

Internationally recognized research groups work in fields from soft condensed matter and biological physics to elementary particle physics and cosmology and the search for gravitational waves. Find out more at individual research group areas.

Outside the classroom.

Explore other hands-on and out-of-classroom experiences:

  • Help teach your peers in introductory labs and workshop sessions with a graduate student teaching assistant.
  • Work in the Syracuse physics demonstration facility—to prepare demonstrations for classroom use and for displays.
  • Attend meetings and events sponsored by the local Society of Physics students chapter.

Faculty research areas include:

  • Experimental particle physics
  • Theoretical particle physics and cosmology
  • Experimental condensed matter and biological physics
  • Theoretical condensed matter physics
  • Computational physics
  • Experimental astrophysics and cosmology
  • Medium energy physics
  • Experimental gravitational wave physics

Study Abroad

Did you know you can incorporate study abroad into your physics studies? Visit Syracuse Abroad, then talk with you advisor about your options.


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Recent Physics News

Isabella Lee smiling.

Mastering the Challenges of STEM

posted on: June 9, 2020

ROTC cadet Isabella Lee is a physics and neuroscience major who perseveres through difficult work and then enjoys sharing what she’s learned with other students.

Recent Physics Publications

Anomalous charge noise in superconducting qubits, B. G. Christensen, C. D. Wilen, A. Opremcak, J. Nelson, F. Schlenker, C. H. Zimonick, L. Faoro, L. B. Ioffe, Y. J. Rosen, J. L. DuBois, B. L. T. Plourde, and R. McDermott
Phys. Rev. B 100, 140503(R) – Published 24 October 2019

R. Aaij et. al. (LHCb Collaboration), "Precision measurement of the Λc+, Ξc+, Ξc0 baryon lifetimes",, submitted to Phys. Rev. D, June 2019.r

Measurement of the relative BD0/D*0/D**0μ¯νμ branching fractions using B mesons from ¯B*0s2 decays

R. Aaij et. al. (LHCb Collaboration), "Measurement of the mass and production rate of Ξb baryons", Phys. Rev. D99 052006 (2019).

Rudolph, Matthew. An experimentalist’s guide to the semileptonic bottom to charm branching fractions. Int. J. Mod. Phys. A 33.32 (2018) 1850176. doi: 10.1142/S0217751X18501762. arXiv: 1805.05659 [hep-ph].

R. Aaij et. al. (LHCb Collaboration), "Measurement of the Ωc0 baryon lifetime", Phys. Rev. Lett. 121 092003 (2018).