Department of Physics

The undergraduate physics program at Boston University gives students a foundation of knowledge and quantitative problem-solving abilities. The department prides itself on the quality of its teaching while also maintaining a vigorous research program. The large and diverse faculty assures majors an opportunity for close interaction with their teachers and mentors. Students are encouraged to participate in research, and many get involved as early as their sophomore year. Qualified students enroll as seniors in independent projects leading to a degree with honors in the major (CAS PY 401, 402).

Although many of our graduates continue their careers in physics or astronomy, a BA in Physics also offers preparation for careers in such areas as industrial research and development, engineering, environmental sciences, medical physics, geophysics, oceanography, and computer science. It is also an ideal preparation for entering professional schools such as medicine, law, teaching, engineering, or management. Reflecting the diversity of careers available to our students, the department offers three options for the major in physics, as well as joint majors in astronomy and physics, and philosophy and physics. In addition, the department offers a minor in physics, which can complement degrees in engineering, mathematics, or other sciences.

Students in their junior year have the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). This program combines coursework at UniGe with research at CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) and other laboratories in Geneva.

The Metcalf Science Center, at 590 Commonwealth Avenue, houses department headquarters, instructional laboratories, lecture rooms, and offices, as well as laboratories devoted to low temperature physics, surface physics, condensed matter physics, molecular biophysics, and materials research. The Physics Research Building, located nearby at 3 Cummington Mall, houses classrooms, laboratories dedicated to high-energy and condensed-matter physics, and outstanding facilities for the fabrication of scientific instruments and the design of sophisticated electronics equipment. In addition, several physics research groups have laboratories in the Photonics Center at 8 St. Mary’s Street. Researchers at Boston University also perform experiments at a variety of national and international facilities; for a complete list, please refer to the department website.

An extensive network of computational facilities supports the research activities of the department. There are many networked multiprocessor servers and centralized workstations. Full details can be found on the department website. For computationally intensive applications, students also have access to supercomputing resources supported through the Center for Computational Science and BU Information Services & Technology.


Photon, the undergraduate physics society, is a member of the Society for Physics Students of the American Physical Society and sponsors many interesting programs during the year.

Sigma Xi See Honor Societies.

Sigma Pi Sigma See Honor Societies.