College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

School of Physics and Astronomy

The School of Physics and Astronomy degree programs prepare students for a wide range of careers in engineering and science. Core courses are taught  to more than 3,000 students each year from 23 different academic majors. Our world-renowned faculty are members of international collaborations making new discoveries about the origins of our universe, dark matter, the inner workings of cells, and more.

Tradition of excellence

The rich history of physics at the University of Minnesota dates back to the late 1880s. Over the years, six of our faculty and alumni physicists have been awarded a Nobel Prize, more than any other school or department at the University. Our faculty have been pioneers in studying nuclear energy, particle theory, and neutrinos.

World-class academics

Today, we continue to strengthen programs in areas such as elementary particle physics and condensed matter, as well as opening new avenues in biological physics and nanotechnology research. Our undergraduate program offers a flexible, real-world approach that prepares students for graduate school or careers in engineering and applied physics, computer applications, secondary school teaching, or biomedical sciences. Our graduate program offers rigorous academics together with opportunities to conduct state-of-the-art contemporary research around the world.

Cutting-edge research

Our physics faculty and students carry out advanced research in many areas including:

  • Biophysics
  • Cosmology
  • Condensed matter
  • High energy particle physics
  • Space physics
  • Nuclear theory
  • Physics education

Faculty and students study neutrinos with the world's best minds in physics at the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota,which is run by our school. Our physicists also play leadership roles at CERN in Switzerland where they study experiment results from the Large Hadron Collider. In 2009, we were awarded a $40 million grant to build a new neutrino detector near Ash River, Minn., that will become the world's most advanced neutrino experiment. In addition, the 2010 Legislature approved $4 million in planning money for a proposed $80 million Physics and Nanotechnology Building at the University that will provide space for 40 modern laboratories.

Business and industry connections

We have long-standing relationships with major corporations such as 3M and Seagate, national and international research labs, as well as universities around the world. In addition, we receive significant research funding from government agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

National rankings

  • Our physics program has traditionally ranked among the top 15 percent of all 160 Ph.D.-granting departments in the country by both the National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report.

Contact information

School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota
148 Tate Laboratory of Physics
116 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: 612-624-7375
Fax: 612-624-4578



At a glance

122 undergraduate students

129 graduate students

40 faculty