Undergrad doing research in a lab

Undergraduate Program

Studying Physics at WashU

As the most fundamental of all the sciences, physics will lead you to a deeply fulfilling and rewarding undergraduate experience. The Department of Physics at Washington University is strongly committed to fundamental research and excellence in teaching. We are a medium-sized department with nationally and internationally renowned research groups in the fields of astrophysics, extraterrestrial materials, condensed matter physics, quantum information and quantum materials, particle and nuclear physics, and biophysics.

  • Be A Leader in Medical and Biophysics Research

  • Lead the Quantum Revolution of the Computing World

  • Explore the Most Fundamental Aspects of Our Universe

Exploring Options

Not only will a physics major provide you with the skills to excel in a professional career, but you can also apply your studies to a surprising variety of occupations. Physics majors from our department have seen rewarding careers in science, medicine, law, engineering, computer science, and business. Washington University's strong biophysics and neurophysics programs can play an important role in premedical studies, and the opportunities for double majors ensure that students can integrate other subjects into their course of study. Graduates of our department have been accepted into graduate school at every top university in the country, including our own.

Valeria Villegas-Medina

Majoring in Physics

Why become a physics major?

Senior Kuziez named Marshall Scholar

Senior Kuziez named Marshall Scholar

Erin Barillier receives Baines Family Planetary Science Scholarship

Erin Barillier receives Baines Family Planetary Science Scholarship

Student Opportunities

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students are invited to participate in research at all levels of the undergraduate career. Our faculty has a wide range of research interests and expertise, and also actively collaborates with researchers in other departments. Engaging actively in research as an undergraduate student is highly recommended for students planning to earn a PhD and helps prepare you for many job opportunities.

Learn about undergraduate research

Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL)

Students in this program are placed into a study group that meets for two hours on Saturday, Sunday or Monday throughout the semester. Group members work through a problem set designed to require a collaborative effort, to help develop critical thinking skills and to hone advanced problem-solving abilities. These groups are facilitated by a trained undergraduate peer leader, who guides and encourages the group through the learning process.

Explore PLTL

Departmental Honors

Options for honors in Physics include Latin Honors and Departmental Distinction.

Honors Details

Fellowships & Prizes

The department offers research fellowships both during the summer and the academic year. A select number of prizes are awarded to students who have excelled in various ways.

Find fellowships & apply

Careers and Outcomes in Physics

Physics majors from our department have seen rewarding careers in science, medicine, law, engineering, computer science, and business. Washington University's strong biophysics and neurophysics programs can play an important role in premedical studies, and the opportunities for double majors ensure that students can integrate other subjects into their course of study. Graduates of our department have been accepted into graduate school at every top university in the country, including our own.

learn more about physics & careers

Society of Physics Students

The Washington University in St. Louis Chapter of the Society of Physics Students hosts a range of fun physics events like observatory parties, experiment demo nights, lab tours, and panels on research and graduate admissions. They have connected students with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as a meet-and-greet with a Nobel Laureate and dinner with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and have led a wide range of endeavors to make our department more inclusive. 

Learn more!
Sol Markman

The physics department offers a collaborative environment to students with interests ranging from quantum information to evolution, providing undergraduates with valuable skills for a variety of future endeavors. During my time studying physics at WashU, I've been continually challenged to grow both in the classroom and in research environments, supported by faculty who encourage me to follow my curiosity and readily offer their mentorship and advice.

―Sol MarkmanB.A., 2022

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If you have any questions about studying physics, contact us anytime to set up an appointment.

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