Students curious about how the world works will find that the physics curriculum offers them the opportunity to learn not only about the principal phenomena of the physical world but also how physical theory helps us understand these phenomena. The major program may serve as a basis for further study in physics and allied sciences, and in engineering, and for study leading to professions in education, health sciences and law.

The curriculum emphasizes laboratory work in which students become independent workers formulating and solving their own problems. Students gain the intellectual skill of moving freely to and fro between the concrete and the abstract. Students assess evidence and follow complex arguments to their logical conclusions, as well as practice speaking and writing clearly and effectively.

Many careers are open to those who understand some physics. Graduates work as astronomers, engineers, material scientists, and physicists in government, industry, and universities as well as in geophysics, oceanography, computer science, medical and health physics, and patent law.