Explore UAB

Physics for 21st Century Careers and Grand Challenge Research Problems

Welcome to UAB Physics. Our mission is to

  • advance new research and educational paradigms that expand the disciplinary boundaries of the past
  • solve the grand challenge research problems most important for science and pressing for society
  • develop creative and compassionate problem solvers and life-long learners
  • facilitate an inclusive environment where every faculty, student, postdoc, and staff can succeed

As a recognition of success, our department won American Physical Society’s (APS) 2023 Improving Undergraduate Physics Education Award. Our program was chosen as a role model for liberal arts colleges for improving the educational experiences of undergraduate students. This national award recognizes our continuing success of recruiting a high number of physics majors, the research opportunities provided by our faculty, our numerous major tracks that prepare students for a wide range of career paths, and our dedication to diversity.

We prepare students for 21st century careers, by offering focused bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree tracks along with research programs in computational physics, theoretical physics, condensed matter physics, materials physics, nanoscience, optics, and laser physics. We seamlessly integrate purposeful research and education with 21st century workforce development, life-long learning, and cultural inclusion.

With our integrative research, education and experiential learning program and our new Data Fluency Initiative, students learn better the new technologies that they will need to solve the problems of the present and the future, including those technologies that do not exist yet. We’re not just preparing undergraduates to pursue Ph.D.s — we’re preparing our students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our program combines flexibility with rigor to help our students develop a broad skill set, including computation, experimental, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. This combination of complex skills is now demanded by most employers. These are the tools you’ll need for solving the Grand Challenge interdisciplinary problems facing today’s technology-driven society.

Our undergraduate and graduate students take advantage of a multitude of learning activities, ranging from honors courses and seminars during their freshman year to cutting-edge, hands-on research experiences. Our world-class faculty will help YOU develop an individual program of study that helps you gain a competitive edge while allowing you to pursue your passion. Physics is moving into the new UAB Science & Engineering Complex, a state-of-the art building specially designed to empower you to impact the future.

Our research-intensive curriculum offers a versatile, small-college environment that combines breadth with depth. While in the program, both graduate and undergraduate students have research opportunities to do part of their work at major government and industrial laboratories.

The skills our graduates leave with are valued and highly sought after by top U.S. and international employers. They’ve been successful in a wide range of post-graduation paths and 21st century careers in STEM, computational, and medical/health-related fields. From being a research scientist in government laboratories to attending a top medical school or working as a data scientist, our alumni have gone on to experience high levels of success.

Please explore our website to learn more about our versatile academic and research programs, including:

  • the big open questions addressed by our research
  • the new undergraduate tracks now helping our students acquire a unique skillset that makes them competitive for 21st Century jobs not directly associated with Physics in the past

Deciding to pursue what you love by becoming a member of our family is a first step in transforming a Physics degree into a successful and rewarding 21st century career. I look forward to seeing you on the UAB campus soon and to personally help you optimize the opportunities awaiting you. Together with our faculty mentors, we will help you design your own pathway to becoming the best that you can be.

Ilias Perakis


Ilias Perakis, Ph.D.
Professor & Chair, Department of Physics