Assistant Professor Jonathan Petruccelli showcases his research on optical physics to a group of students.

Bachelor of Science in

Program of Study


Develop a conceptual understanding of basic physics principles through courses that cover classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, atomic and nuclear physics, and thermal physics. Then take advanced courses to customize your education in areas like electronics, particle physics and cosmology.

You will engage with a faculty mentor on a regular basis throughout the program. They will help you with course selection, career planning and academics. You can also conduct research with your mentor, exposing you to hands-on learning and experience before graduation.

Choose one of four concentrations to deepen your study in your selected area.

Introductory Physics Sequence

  • Physics I: Mechanics or Honors Physics I Mechanics or Physics I: Advanced Mechanics
  • Physics II: Electromagnetism or Honors Physics II: Electromagnetism or Physics II: Advanced Electromagnetism
  • Physics III: Structure of Matter

Lab Sequence for Introductory Courses

  • Physics Lab I or General Physics Lab I
  • Physics Lab II or General Physics Lab II
  • Physics Lab III

Higher Level Physics Courses

  • Mathematics in Physics or Analysis for Applications I & II
  • Physics IV: Waves
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Advanced Physics Lab
  • Electromagnetism I: Statics
  • Electromagnetism II: Electrodynamics
  • Quantum Physics I
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

Chemistry Sequence

  • General Chemistry I and Laboratory OR
  • General Chemistry I and General Chemistry Laboratory I OR
  • Advanced Chemistry I and General Chemistry Laboratory I 

Calculus Sequence

  • Calculus I and Calculus II OR Honors Calculus I and Honors Calculus II
  • Calculus of Several Variables

Concentration Courses

General Physics

In the General Physics concentration, you will secure a well-rounded education in physics, covering fundamental principles and theories. The curriculum provides you with a strong background in physics and mathematics providing the analytical and problem-solving skills crucial for graduate studies in physics and related fields, as well as for scientific and technical careers in areas including engineering, software development and systems analysis. In addition, you can combine this degree with an M.S. in Secondary Education (Physics) for teaching opportunities.

Four-Year Plan

Higher Level Physics Courses

  • Quantum Physics II
  • Electromagnetism II: Electrodynamics

Chemistry Courses

  • General Chemistry II and Laboratory OR
  • General Chemistry II and General Chemistry Laboratory II OR
  • Advanced Chemistry II and General Chemistry Laboratory II

Mathematics Elective

  • Linear Algebra
  • Analysis for Applications I
  • Discrete Probability or
  • Complex Variables for Applications

Additional Physics Course

Any course numbered 300 or higher and appended with a Y suffix. 

  • Mathematical Models in Physics
  • Electronics
  • Introduction to Particle Physics
  • Optics
  • Introduction to Cosmology
  • Medical Imaging
  • Introduction to Quantum Foundations and Quantum Information
  • Bayesian Data Analysis and Signal Processing
  • Symmetry in Physics
  • Physics of Materials
  • X-ray Optics, Analysis, and Imaging
  • Computational Methods

Computer Science Course

  • Introduction to Computer Science OR
  • Computers in Physics
Computational Physics

Computational physics focuses on the numerical solutions of complex physical problems. You will gain knowledge of the underlying mathematical and physical models as well as computational methods that enable computers to reach precise and accurate solutions in reasonable periods of time. You'll develop skills required for in-demand careers in data science and be prepared for graduate studies in fields such as physics, informatics and computer science.

Four-Year Plan

Computer Science Courses

  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Computers in Physics

Mathematics Course

  • Linear Algebra

Higher Level Physics Courses

  • Introduction to Quantum Foundations and Quantum Information
  • Bayesian Data Analysis and Signal Processing
  • Computational Methods

Computational Physics Courses

Choose three: 

  • System Fundamentals
  • Numerical Methods
  • Database Systems
  • Data Mining 
  • Machine Learning 
  • Microprocessor Applications
  • Electronics 
  • Electronics Projects
  • Physics Measurements 
  • Microprocessor Applications Lab 
  • Independent Study
  • Discrete Probability
Astronomy & Particle Astrophysics

You will study the Universe using optical telescopes, radio waves, infrared and ultraviolet waves, X-rays, gamma rays, neutrinos, cosmic rays, and gravitational waves. This interdisciplinary concentration combines the signature strengths of astronomy and particle astrophysics, preparing you for a career at NASA and their sub-contractors, as well as graduate studies in physics, astronomy or related fields.

Four-Year Plan

Computer Science Course

  • Introduction to Computer Science OR
  • Computers in Physics

Mathematics Course

  • Linear Algebra

Astro-physics Courses

Choose four:

  • Introduction to Astrophysics
  • Introduction to Particle Physics
  • Introduction to Cosmology
  • Astro-particle Physics
  • Introduction to Neutrino Astronomy

Physics Electives

Choose two:

  • Contemporary Astronomy
  • Exploration of Space
  • Star Systems
  • Math Models in Physics
  • Optics
  • Introduction to GR
  • Physics of Rad Detectors
  • Independent Study

In the bio-imaging concentration you will learn to combine optics, biophysics and medical imaging techniques. You will be prepared to secure a position in the medical physics and biotech industry or continue your studies specializing in biophysics or medical physics.

Four-Year Plan

Computer Science Course

  • Introduction to Computer Science OR
  • Computers in Physics

Chemistry Courses

  • General Chemistry II and Laboratory OR
  • General Chemistry II and General Chemistry Laboratory II OR
  • Advanced Chemistry II and General Chemistry Laboratory II

Physics Electives

Choose four:

  • Biophysics
  • Optics
  • Laser Physics and Applications
  • Medical Imaging
  • Physics of Radiation Detectors
  • X-ray Optics, Analysis, and Imaging
Honors Program

Challenge yourself with more advanced work in the Physics Honors Program. You will have the opportunity to complete an independent research project culminating in a written report. Outstanding students should apply for admission to the honors program in the beginning of their junior year.

Applied Learning

Join the UAlbany chapter of the Society of Physics Students, a group that encourages you to pursue your education beyond the general classroom setting. Engage in hands-on activities like rocket building, view science movies, attend lectures and discuss career choices.

Take advantage of research opportunities that have the potential for professional publication through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for program.


Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Options

You can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework while still enrolled as an undergraduate student. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you’ll complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately. Choose to combine your Physics undergraduate degree with the following graduate programs:


MS in Physics
This master’s program studies subjects like condensed matter, digital holography and Bayesian data analysis for a sound understanding of computational methods, electrodynamics and statistical mechanics.

MS in Information Science 
This ALA-accredited master's program covers a broad range of interdisciplinary topics related to library science, information processing, information management and data analysis.

MS in Secondary Education
This New York State-approved teacher preparation program provides you with initial certification to teach a specific subject to students in grades 7-12 in New York State public schools.

UAlbany graduate at Commencement
Career Outcomes

With a Bachelor of Science in Physics degree you will be prepared for positions in industries such as engineering, astrophysics, software, science journalism, architecture and medical physics.

Potential job titles for a BS in physics include:

  • Electrical engineer
  • Laser engineer
  • Software developer
  • Programmer
  • High school physics or science teacher
  • Optical engineer
  • Research assistant
  • Lab technician
  • Accelerator operator



Colleagues writing mathematical formulas on a transparent board.
Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Bachelor of Science
  • Students will master Newton's Laws
  • Students will master basics of electricity and magnetism (Coulomb's Law, analysis of DC circuits, induction)

  • Students will master advanced mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations)

  • Students will master the fundamentals of thermodynamics and statistical physics (thermodynamic potentials, statistical ensembles, classical and quantum gases)

  • Students will master the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics (Schrodinger equation and its applications to atomic physics)

  • Students will understand the fundamental nature of measurement in the scientific method, and the role of experimental uncertainty in comparing theory to experiment

  • Students will master writing clear and complete reports for laboratory measurements


What Makes The University at Albany Great

Student move-in day.

Living-Learning Communities

Live and take classes with other incoming freshmen who share your personal interests, passions or intended academic major.

A student abroad visiting a monument.

Study Abroad

Become a global citizen: international experience is crucial to success in business, education, research, and public policy.

A student conducting undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Research

Research, scholarship, and creative activities at the University at Albany is an option for all students, across all academic disciplines. You will be able to learn more about a specific academic field or career path all while building a long-lasting mentoring relationship with a faculty member or principal investigator.

Explore Minors

Build competency in a passion or strengthen your resume.

A minor consists of 18–24 graduation credits which must include a minimum of 9 graduation credits of advanced coursework at or above the 300 level. Most undergraduate degrees require completing a minor and it has to have a different title from your major.

Full List of Minors
  • Acting
  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Bioethics
  • Biology
  • Broadcast Meteorology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese Studies
  • Cognitive Science
  • Communication (Fully Online Option)
  • Computer Science
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice Studies (Fully Online Option)
  • Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • Documentary Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economics
  • Educational Studies
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Film Studies
  • Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (Fully Online Option)
  • English
  • Forensic Science
  • French
  • Game Design and Development
  • Geographic Information Science
  • Geography
  • Globalization Studies
  • Hebrew
  • History (Fully Online Option)
  • Informatics (Fully Online Option)
  • Instrumental Performance
  • International Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese Studies
  • Journalism (Fully Online Option)
  • Judaic Studies
  • Korean Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Law and Philosophy
  • Leadership
  • Legal Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Library and Information Science
  • Linguistics
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematics
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Music
  • Musical Performance
  • Musical Theatre
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese
  • Pre-Education
  • Psychology (Fully Online Option)
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Russian and Eastern European Studies
  • Social Welfare Studies
  • Sociology (Fully Online Option)
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Sustainability
  • Theatre
  • Theatrical Design/Technology
  • Urban Studies and Planning
  • U.S. Latino Studies
  • Vocal Performance
  • Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies