Skip to content
  • Print

Department of Physics


Kieran Holland
Department Chair
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211

The Department of Physics is an active, engaged community that stimulates its students' curiosity about the fundamental workings of the universe. We encourage students to think deeply through questions about how the universe works, to find and connect abstract relationships to new situations and to be academically confident and knowledgeable scientists, teachers and lifelong learners


Students with a physics degree work in many different areas, such as engineering, computer or information systems, STEM fields with technical expertise like research in public and private sectors, and non-STEM fields like finance and data science.

Starting salaries range from $45,000 to $70,000 with a Physics BS degree and graduates report a high level of job satisfaction and job security.

You can learn more about physics careers here


Last March the physics department faculty and students went on a field trip for night-time viewing at the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose. The observatory is owned and run by the University of California, thanks to our faculty Dr Elisa Toloba and Dr Guillermo Barro we had permission for a private tour. More information on the trip here

We've recently hosted talks by Dr. Chris McKay from the NASA Ames Research Center on terraforming Mars (read more about it here), by Prof Raja Guhathakurta from UC Santa Cruz on studying galaxy formation as well as career advice for undergraduate students, and by Dr Tomer Tal (Ph.D. Yale) from Chegg on data science and machine learning.

Physics scholarships

The physics department has about $40,000 in scholarship support for physics majors, in addition to financial aid, and is awarded based on students' academic standing and their involvement in research projects.

Money for research

The physics faculty have won more than $900,000 in external funding to support their research, including having undergraduate students work with them. Read here about what the faculty are doing and research opportunities for students.

Research by the faculty

The physics faculty are active researchers in astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science, particle physics and computational science. Here are recent papers by Dr Elisa Toloba, Dr Helene Flohic, Dr Guillermo Barro, Dr Daniel Jontof-Hutter, and Dr Kieran Holland .    

Physics undergraduates at conferences

Kadri Bin Mohamad Nizam and Justin Barber presented posters on their research at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle in January 2019. Katie Ram, Nina Madsen and Katie Christensen were at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) in Los Angeles last year. Read in our blog what they thought about it.

Data science careers for physics students

Physics students have many kinds of careers after college. Read here how many physicists are going to Silicon Valley, using their skills in the new area of data science.

What do we offer?

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, including possible concentrations in
    • Computational Physics
    • Astrophysics
    • Mathematical Physics
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering-Physics
    • Jointly offered with Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science 
      Pacific is one of only 21 schools in the U.S. with an accredited bachelor's degree in Engineering-Physics.
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics tailored to prepare K-12 STEM field teachers

What will you find here?

  • Engaged Students- We have an engaged community of students following their curiosity and learning about the fundamental workings of the universe, from entangled photons to supernovae in distant galaxies.
  • Expert Faculty- Our faculty members are exceptional teachers and recognized research leaders in their fields of study.
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities- Because of our small size we can work closely with our undergraduate students and give them opportunities to participate in research.
  • Advanced Equipment- Grants through the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Space Sciences Institute and other sources gives the physics department access to highly sophisticated instrumentation that supports hands-on learning.

What courses will I take?

  • Path to Degree -  check the four-year schedule from starting student to successful graduate here
  • New Courses - an up-to-date curriculum including new topical courses on particle physics, exoplanets, and black holes. Find the courses for Fall 2018 here and for Spring 2019 here

Feeling social? Find us on social media!