Department of Physics and Astronomy
Recognized worldwide for cutting edge work in both experimental and applied physics, our program is more than theoretical. Students leave here prepared to compete in the real world job market.
In 2010, Yakir Aharonov, distinguished professor emeritus of physics at the University of South Carolina, was awarded the National Medal of Science for his groundbreaking work on quantum mechanics. That the United States’ most prestigious award for scientific achievement was presented to one of our own is emblematic of the exceptional quality of our department.
The more than 75 undergraduate majors and more than 35 graduate students consistently rate the instructional quality of the department’s 26 faculty members as exceptionally good. The high level of research among faculty facilitates many opportunities for student research, as well.
Especially known for the strength of its research in both theoretical and experimental physics, the department’s research has a global impact: its nuclear and particle physics groups are involved in cutting-edge international collaborations. The theoretical groups in cosmology, quantum theory, and nuclear physics are also internationally known.
The important applied areas of nanotechnogy and computational physics are increasingly popular with students at Carolina. A new applied track within the BS Physics major, known as engineering physics, is an interdisciplinary program that meshes the science with engineering. This degree will uniquely prepare students to compete successfully in the job market upon completion of their bachelor’s degree. Or, they will be well prepared to pursue graduate studies in either physics or engineering if they so choose.
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to the B.S., the M.S., and the Ph.D. The programs include Nuclear and Particle Physics, Theoretical and Computational Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Condensed Matter and Nanotechnology.