About the Physics Program

UHCL Physics Classroom

What is Physics?

  • Physics is not Engineering but many Physicists work as Engineers 
  • Physics is not Philosophy but many Physicists explore fundamental questions 
  • Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences 
  • The goal of physics is to understand the physical world (universe) around us and to understand how we know what we think we know

About the UHCL Physics Program

  • UHCL's physics program grew out the UHCL Physical Sciences: Space Science Program 
  • Research in Experimental, Theoretical and Computational Physics 
  • Students can specialize in Cosmology, Astrophysics, Neutrino Physics, Biophysics, Applied Physics, Nanophysics, Condensed Matter Physics or Materials Science  

History of Physics at UHCL

  • Physical Science program was established in 1975 after the founding of UHCL 
  • Originally a combination of astronomy, chemistry, geology and physics but eventually lost concentrations in chemistry and geology  
  • Physical Science BS redeveloped to prepare students for Teacher Certification in 2003 and was eventually discontinued 
  • Physical Science MS replaced by a physics MS in 2004 
  • Physics BS initiated in 2009 
  • The Physics and Physical Sciences programs graduated several Astronauts  
  • The UHCL Physics Program was ranked as one of the highest producing master's level physics programs in the US

Why Major in Physics at UHCL?

  • High Salaries and Low Unemployment Rates (AIP Career Info
  • Training in a huge range of fields from teaching to computing or engineering 
  • Ability to continue on to graduate school in several disciplines including medicine and law 
  • More flexible requirements than similar disciplines like engineering 
  • Research Opportunities on campus and with local industry 
  • Friendly Faculty who engage with students in small classes and mentor students in research 
  • Advanced research facilities in our new STEM building 
  • Teaching Assistantships available for qualified students 

What We Offer

  • Physics BS - designed to prepare students for technical careers in Engineering, Physics or Space Science
    • Physics BS Sub-Plan in Engineering – designed specifically to prepare undergraduate students for careers in engineering and applied physics based on ABET standards
    • Physics BS Sub-Plan in Computational Physics – designed to provide students with a background in physics and computer sciences necessary for advanced computational research
  • Physics MS - enhances the background of practicing engineers and prepares students for Ph.D. work in physics or Astronomy
  • Collaborative PhD with UH - Allows students to complete a PhD in physics. Some students can do this while working with NASA


  • Applied Physics Research Lab 
  • Biophysics Research Lab 
  • Computational Physics Research Lab 
  • Materials Physics Research Lab 
  • Modern Physics Lab 

BS in Physics

  • Prepares students for technical careers in areas such as engineering and computing
  • Prepares students for advanced study in Physics and Space Science 
  • Engineering Physics sub-plan prepares students for the Professional Engineer Certification 

MS in physics

  • Prepare students for PhD level work 
  • Enhance the knowledge base of practicing engineers 
  • Provide students with advanced research experience 


  • Standard Physics Core 
  • Advanced Electives (Nanotechnology, General Relativity, Astroparticle Physics, Special Topics) 
  • Capstone - Thesis and Non-thesis options for MS 
  • Every Undergraduate and Graduate student works on a research project before graduating