Physics is the scientific study of the fundamental principles governing the behavior of matter and the interaction of matter and energy. Mathematics is used to describe fundamental physical principles, the behavior of matter, and the interactions of matter and energy. As the most fundamental of sciences, physics provides a foundation for other scientific fields as well as the underpinnings of modern technology. The Physics department is unique because of the breadth of its faculty expertise and research, and the relatively intimate size of its classes above the introductory level. Physics concentrators may choose to pursue either the A.B. or the more intensive Sc.B. degree. Course work on either path covers a broad base of topics (for example, electricity and magnetism, classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics). The Sc.B. degree requires additional advanced topics as well as a senior thesis project. 

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Understand the key laws and applications of physics
  • Develop their capacities in critical quantitative reasoning
  • Grasp the role of experiment and theory in the intellectual development of physics
  • Develop effective communication skills
  • Learn to formulate a scientific question in a theoretical or laboratory research project


Click here for a list of the Physics concentration requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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A senior thesis, to be prepared in connection with Physics 1980, is required of all Sc.B. concentrators. All Sc.B. candidates are eligible for Honors consideration without any special application procedure. During the student's eighth semester, the Physics Concentration and Honors advisors will review the student's grades in all mathematics 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.  If both are deemed satisfactory, the student will be awarded Honors at graduation. Visit the department website for more information.


  • Astrophysics - Sc.B. only
  • Biological Physics - Sc.B. only
  • Mathematical Physics

Liberal Learning

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

  • Expand your reading skills
  • 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


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201334 24 15 
201423 16 10 
201524 14 12 
201621  14 
201719  10 

Alumni Pathways

Alumni who have completed the concentration in 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

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Amy Butcher
  • Connor Lynch

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