Understand matter with a degree in Physics.

Physicists investigate the fundamental nature of forces and particles and the resulting states of matter that make up the physical world. Studying physics strengthens quantitative reasoning and problem solving skills that are valuable in areas beyond physics because students learn how to analyze complex problems, giving them a strong quantitative background that can be applied in any technical field.


Program type:

Major, BS



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General Physics

Bachelor of Science in Physics -

General Physics Emphasis

The BS in Physics with an Emphasis in General Physics is designed to prepare students for a professional career in physics or a related field, or for graduate studies in physics. Other emphasis areas offered include: Astrophysics; Biophysics; and Engineering Physics.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the BS in Physics, graduates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic physics concepts including classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, quantum mechanics and modern electronics; design and perform basic physics experiments, assess the significance of their results and interpret the observed outcomes; demonstrate an understanding of some areas of the most recent physics research, such as advances in materials physics or nanoscience; be skilled in problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical reasoning as applied to scientific problems; be proficient in communicating scientific work results; conduct original scientific research as part of a problem-solving team; and identify possible errors in scientific data and assess the significance of observed results.

Employment of Physicists is projected to grow up to 5% through 2032, with a median annual salary of $149,530, according to wage and employment data from payscale.com.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2032

Career Opportunities

  • Climate Science
  • Data Analyst
  • Geophysicist
  • Researcher
  • Software Engineer


Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements Review Sample Four-Year Plan

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the  NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Student organizations

Make new friends and learn new skills by joining one of our Recognized Student Organizations. Here are several opportunities you may be interested in as a physics major:

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.