Undergraduate Program

Explore the most fundamental aspects of our universe

Studying Physics at WashU

As the most fundamental of all the sciences, physics will lead you to a deeply fulfilling and rewarding undergraduate experience. 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, among other professions. 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 your course of study. Graduates of our department have been accepted into graduate school at every top university in the country, including our own.

Majors and Minors Offered by the Physics Department

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.

The goal of the major program is to provide undergraduate students with an outstanding education in physics as preparation for successful careers in graduate school or in the workplace. The physics department offers two majors:

  • Physics
  • Astrophysics

Physics majors may concentrate in the subfield of biophysics with a separate track that can be added to the Physics major.

Additionally, the department offers three minors:

  • Physics
  • Astrophysics and Astroparticle Physics
  • Biomedical Physics

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to enroll in a large number of specialized courses and to actively participate in research within the department.

About the Program

Major Requirements
Minor Requirements
Undergraduate Handbook
Undergraduate Research Projects

Valeria Villegas-Medina

Majoring in Physics

Why become a physics major?

Butler wins Goldwater scholarship

Butler wins Goldwater scholarship

Undergraduate research

Getting Started

Undergraduate students are invited to participate in research at all levels of the undergraduate career. Engaging actively in research as an undergraduate student is highly recommended for students planning to do a PhD in Physics or in another science.

Learn about undergraduate research

Research Groups

The physics department hosts strong research groups in the fields of Astrophysics, Biophysics, Condensed Matter Physics, Materials, Medical Physics, Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, and Space Materials. All undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to participate in the cutting-edge research happening throughout the department.

Discover research opportunities

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

How to Apply

We welcome students of many different backgrounds. Apply online by clicking the link below.

Apply Now!

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 and join the society!

Women in Physics Mentor Program

The WashU Women in Physics Mentor Program provides opportunities for students at all points in their academic careers to network and connect with other women and gender minorities in physics. Members are invited to a dinner each semester where they are able to make friends with other physics students.  Undergraduate and graduate students are paired, provided with coffee shop gift cards and encouraged to meet independently at least twice during the semester--but all are welcome to meet as often as they like.  As the program becomes more established, plans are underway to provide additional social, academic and professional opportunities to our members.  Support from the APS allows this program to be offered free to all members. 

Interested?  Contact Hannah McCall.

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