Applied Physics

Applied Physics at UC Davis

Applied Physics

Major only

An undergraduate degree in applied physics can be excellent preparation for a career or graduate work in a variety of fields, from sciences such as oceanography or geology to law school, banking or medicine.

The major combines the principles of physics with practical expertise in one of seven specialties: atmospheric physics, chemical physics, computational physics, geophysics, materials science, physical electronics or physical oceanography. For example, a degree in applied physics with a computational physics specialty gives you a background in programming and allows you to approach problems through computation, an important skill as technology spreads increasingly throughout modern life.

Real World Outcomes

A UC Davis degree in applied physics provides you with a flexible set of skills preparing you for outstanding career opportunities in such areas as scientific computing; physics research (in academic, national and industrial laboratories); interdisciplinary fields involving physics, mathematics and computation; teaching and education. Energy, biotechnology, aerospace, chemical and environmental industries are just some career paths that graduates in applied physics choose, while interdisciplinary fields in materials science, computer science, finance and medical imaging provide a wide range of career options.


The B.S. degree in applied physics begins with core lower and upper division physics courses and includes concentrated coursework in your area of specialization. Foundational coursework in physics covers classical and modern physics as well as calculus and other mathematics. Your major adviser will help you choose electives to fit your specialization—approved courses are listed on the department website. Our physical electronics specialty offers you the added choice of pursuing a five-year B.S./M.S. degree in electrical engineering.