The B.S. sequence provides preparation for graduate school and career entry. The B.A. is designed for students interested in a career in high school teaching. Undergraduates have the opportunity to work on research with faculty members, many of whom have international reputations in their fields. Active research areas include quantum and nonlinear optics, astrophysics, optoelectronics, surface and interface physics, atmospheric physics, and materials physics. Faculty research programs are supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other agencies.
About half of UMBC’s physics majors go on to further studies at graduate school. Students recently have been admitted to graduate programs at Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Ohio State and University of Virginia. Others have found immediate employment in industry and government laboratories.
UMBC's chapter of the Society of Physics Students is open to all students. It recently earned a rating of outstanding when judged by the national office of the society. In addition, UMBC has a chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national honor society for physics.