Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Physics Major

Physics Undergraduate Program

UC Mercec student working with laser at CastleDue to its fundamental and applied importance, physics is an integral part of any general science program. The physics program at UC Merced educates students in the basic physical properties of the natural world, and how these properties are manifest in a wide array of scientific phenomena. Physics students learn how to reduce complex problems to essential core issues. The physics program also emphasizes quantitative and analytical reasoning.

The physics core is a rigorous grounding in the fundamentals of physics, such as electricity and magnetism, quantum and classical mechanics, and thermodynamics. The specialization allows students to follow one of three tracks of interest: atomic, molecular, optical and condensed matter (AMO/CM) physics, mathematical physics and biophysics or create your custom emphasis track that can highlight specializations including earth/environmental physics, computational physics or physics education. Depending on the track, students may be required to take upper division courses outside of physics.

Through its track structure, the physics program thus complements and enhances other campus undergraduate programs, most notably mathematical sciences, biological sciences, materials science and engineering, earth systems science, environmental engineering, computer science and engineering and bioengineering.