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Why is the sky blue? Why do black holes exist, and what causes them? What's the most likely explanation as to how the pyramids were built? What math and science explains the underlying reasons about what happens in nature and the world around us? Physics. While other sciences explain how, physics is all about the "why."

Do we promise you'll find answers to all the whys? Nope. We do promise that by the time you get your physics degree, you'll be more intrigued by the whys than ever before. As a result, you'll be the kind of thinker who can take on a wide variety of career challenges, including medicine, fusion, nuclear engineering, teaching, government policy, semiconductor research, science journalism, space and atmospheric research, acoustics, petroleum exploration, business, and-of course-physics.

Learn more about the physics major through student testimonials and information on career options.

Declare This Major

A current UT undergraduate who wants to add a simultaneous major in physics or change his or her major to physics should meet with an academic advisor. Students who have not yet completed two semesters of calculus should see an advisor in WCH 1.106. If one of these courses has been completed, the student may see an advisor in RLM 4.101. Students who wish to request a transfer to the College of Natural Sciences need an overall UT GPA of at least 2.0.

Prospective University of Texas at Austin students should visit to learn about the application process and how to declare a major.

Required Courses

Visit the physics degree plan to view all required courses for the physics major in the College of Natural Sciences. Learn about specific physics courses at the freshman/sophomore and junior/senior levels by reading course descriptions.


Physics degrees offered include Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA), as well as six Bachelor of Science (BS) options. Learn the difference between the BA vs BSA vs BS degree. The Bachelor of Science options are as follows:

  • Physics
  • Computation
  • Radiation Physics
  • Space Sciences
  • Teaching
  • Honors


Physics students tend to be eager to tackle new, hard problems on almost any scientific or technical subject. They tend to be unafraid to learn new tools and techniques, often on their own, when needed. They delight in making connections between seemingly different subjects.


Simply put, physics majors develop the ability to solve problems. They learn to apply a set of basic concepts and principles to a wide variety of physical situations. They acquire the ability to apply both experimental and theoretical techniques, and to make the connection between theoretical understanding and real world, physical phenomena of all kinds. They become adept at using both the analytical as well computational tools of mathematics and computer science to quantitatively understand the universe we live in, from the smallest to largest scales. They learn to isolate the important features of complex systems, identify the important parameters, and make approximations.