Two students working in a physics lab.

Study matter, motion, space and time

The Department of Physics engages students at all levels, from those preparing for teaching to those pursuing scientific careers. Past and current members of our department’s internationally renowned faculty have been recognized with the highest honors in the discipline, including the Nobel Prize and, most recently, the 2021 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Faculty mentor students in a wide range of innovative research, from investigating the nature of dark matter to manipulating sophisticated quantum systems in the lab.

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Undergraduate Programs

  • B.S., Physics

    Comprehensive Physics Track, Applied Physics Track, Biological Physics Track, Teaching Physics Track

Graduate Programs

A group of students participating in a UW Physics field trip wearing hardhats.


As a physics student, you’ll solve challenging theoretical constructs, analyze data, master experimental techniques, and develop skills in error analysis — preparing you for a wide range of career paths. Department of Physics alumni pursue rewarding careers in education, research and development, engineering, health care, law, information technology, business, the military and government.

Career Paths

A degree in Physics can lead to a career as a(n):

  • Physicist 
  • Educator
  • Researcher
  • Programmer
  • Biophysicist 
  • Data analyst 
  • Business analyst
  • Patent agent
  • Systems analyst
  • Web developer   
Photo of eight toroid magnets surrounding a calorimeter measuring energies of particles.

Bringing physics to the public

As part of our commitment to make physics accessible to the general public, the Department of Physics and the College of Arts & Sciences jointly present the annual Frontiers of Physics Public Lecture Series. The free series brings renowned scientists to the UW to share the latest breakthroughs and engaging scholarship in the field. Recent topics have included “How to Find an Inhabited Exoplanet,” “What Really Happened 13.8 Billion Years Ago?,” and “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs.”  

More About Frontiers of Physics 

Find Yourself in Physics

Study the most fundamental science and understand how the universe behaves.

Department of Physics Stories

Marshall Baker standing next to a chalkboard with physics notations

Still Fascinated by Physics

"The questions are long-term questions," emeritus professor Marshall Baker says of his theoretical physics, which he is still pursuing at age 91. 

High school teachers conducting a physics experiment at the UW.

High School Teachers Get Schooled in Physics

High school teachers spent four weeks at the UW Summer Institute in Physics and Physical Science to improve their understanding and teaching of physics. 

UW campus near Drumheller Fountain

Four Dean's Medalists, Working Toward Change

The four new graduates honored as College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Medalists for 2023 are all working to improve our world, in different ways.