Chemical Physics


Chemical Physics is an interdisciplinary field at the crossroads of chemistry and physics and is administered jointly by the two departments. The concentration provides students with a broad-based understanding in fundamental molecular sciences, as well as a background for graduate studies in physical chemistry, chemical physics, or molecular engineering. Concentrators are required to take twenty courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, although approved courses in applied mathematics, biology, computer science, geological sciences, or engineering may be substitutes. Chemical Physics concentrators are also advised to take at least six courses in the humanities and social sciences. Chemical Physics concentrators at all levels (first-year through seniors) are actively involved in research with faculty members in both departments.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Attain a working knowledge of basic principles of both chemistry and physics
  • Understand quantitative and physical methods relevant to chemical processes
  • Understand areas of physics that are related to chemical processes, including quantum mechanics and solid state physics
  • Actively engage in research with faculty members in both departments


Click here for a list of requirements. For more information about this concentration, please visit the department's website.

Honors and Capstones

Every student pursuing the Sc.B. in Chemical Physics must conduct two semesters of independent research and enroll in CH 970, 980 or PH 1980. All Sc.B. candidates are eligible for Honors consideration without any special application procedure. During the student's eighth semester, the Concentration and Honors advisors review the student's grades in all chemistry and physics courses and compute a GPA. If this GPA is judged sufficiently outstanding (typically 3.3 or better), successful completion of the senior thesis is then the remaining requirement, including an oral presentation at the end of the eighth semester. This presentation will be evaluated by the thesis advisor, and the Concentration and Honors advisors.  If it is deemed satisfactory, the student will be awarded Honors at graduation. Please see the department's website for a complete description of program requirements.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Experience scientific inquiry

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

Alumni who have completed the concentration in Chemical Physics have gone on to work in academia, private industry, and government. They have pursued careers as patent attorneys, engineers, research physicists, medical physicists, marine ecologists, and management consultants. Read their comments on the Physics department's website.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Noah Cowan

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.