Cover Photo Image

Physics is the study of the laws of nature that describe the universe we see around us.

At JMU, our physics majors have the opportunity to customize their degree program to suit their interests and career goals. We offer courses that focus on multiple facets of physics, including materials science, computational physics, electronics and applied nuclear physics. Students are strongly urged to conduct research projects with our faculty, and often present research at professional conferences and produce co-authored publications. Additionally, there are multiple opportunities within the physics and astronomy department for paid research experience.

Learn More:
90% of majors conduct research with a faculty member.


$2.7M of state-of-the-art instrumentation and facilities


The major is a part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, an academic unit within the College of Science and Mathematics.

Physics is the study of the laws of nature that describe the universe we see around us and the relationship of energy and matter. This includes the study of nature on every scale from the smallest subatomic particles to the evolution of the universe itself. The study of physics is more than the pursuit of basic scientific knowledge. It is the development of a way of thinking about problems whether learning what is inside a proton or how to use knowledge from biology, chemistry or geology to solve an interesting practical problem.

In this major, students will be immersed in a program that integrates a comprehensive classroom curriculum with extensive hands-on experience working in research laboratories with our faculty. Students have opportunities to work both on campus and at national and international facilities to conduct research in nuclear physics and astronomy, and use state-of-the-art equipment on campus in materials, computational physics and non-linear dynamics. To find out more about the major and what the program is like consult the Physics & Astronomy program page.

  • Degrees Offered: 
    • B.A.
    • B.S.
  • Concentrations:
    • Applied Physics
    • Physics/Engineering Combined Program
    • Fundamental Studies
    • Individual Option
    • Multidisciplinary
  • Minors:
    • Astronomy
    • Physics

Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Students should declare the Physics major when they register for orientation.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers 
Current students wishing to declare or change a major, minor or pre-professional program must complete a request through MyMadison. Additional department specific information will be available when that academic plan is selected.  Follow all directions and steps necessary to execute your request. Once all necessary steps are completed, the department will either approve or deny your request or contact you for additional information.

For additional assistance making this request, view the Change/Declare a Major/Minor tutorial in MyMadison or on the tutorials website.

Progressing in the Major

Remain in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

Students must make at least a "C" grade in Physics 250 or Physics 150 before progressing to Physics 260.

Students select one of the concentrations listed below:

  • Fundamental Studies
  • Applied Physics: Applied Nuclear Physics
  • Applied Physics: Computational
  • Applied Physics: Materials
  • Applied Physics: Electronics and Instrumentation
  • 3/2 Engineering (Physics and Engineering Combined Program): Requires that students complete 96 credit hours including all JMU General Education requirements, the physics core requirements, differential equations and at least 12 additional credit hours with at least a "B+" average.
  • Individual Option: Courses beyond the core requirements are selected in consultation with a faculty adviser and must be approved by that adviser, the department head, and one other faculty member. Progress towards degree completion is reviewed by the faculty adviser.
  • Multidisciplinary: Provides a solid foundation in physics for students whose interests extend beyond traditional physics fields. The four tracks of business, technical and scientific communication, biophysics, and secondary education.

Graduation cap

Career Planning

A successful career and a meaningful life is what it’s all about. Whether it’s an internship, a great first job or a top graduate school appointment, JMU Dukes make their dreams ignite. You will, too.

Here are current openings available to JMU students.

Back to Top