PhysicsCollege of Arts and Sciences

What you will learn

Study matter and energy and their interactions.

Physics is not just a body of knowledge — it is a set of approaches that allow you to solve all kinds of problems.

Physics seeks to describe the most basic features of a system and the underlying general rules that govern them.  These rules are powerful tools for understanding that system and similar ones that you may encounter later.

The core curriculum includes courses in physics, math and chemistry. You may also choose to pursue 1 of 4 tracks:

  • Professional Track: graduate study or employment in physics or a related scientific or engineering discipline
  • Optics and Lasers Track: graduate study or employment in optical or laser physics or related engineering disciplines
  • Materials Physics Track: graduate study or employment in materials physics or related discipline
  • Computational Physics Track: graduate study or employment in computational physics or related disciplines

Career Opportunities

Because the study of physics develops such strong analytical skills, physicists go into a wide variety of careers such as:

  • engineering
  • law
  • medicine
  • computer science
  • information technology
  • optical science
  • laser science
  • materials science

Many physicists work in government or industrial laboratories, but some start their own businesses.

Recent Nebraska graduates include:

  • Astronomical Instrument Technician, University of Texas
  • Lead Innovator, Nanonation
  • Researcher, University of Nebraska
  • Temp Worker, Holland Computing Center


The NEBRASKA difference

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNL features state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities.

At Nebraska you can:

  • study nanoscale magnetic materials
  • perform experiments to “stop” light
  • research matter waves and unusual behavior of chiral molecules
  • study the fundamental constituents of the matter that makes up our universe at some of the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator laboratories


The department of Physics occupies Jorgensen Hall, a newly constructed 125,000 square-foot building.

Jorgensen Hall features:

  • 2 lecture halls
  • 4 teaching labs
  • 8 classrooms
  • office and lab space for faculty and graduate students

Perhaps its most distinctive feature is the expansive atrium, which includes the antique equipment displays as well as lounge areas for students.

Jorgensen Hall, named for alum, distinguished teacher and former department chair Theodore "Ted" Jorgensen who served on the Manhattan Project, allows the opportunity for collaboration between theoretical physicists and experimental physicists.