The Department of Physics and Astronomy in the University of Southern California's Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is a research and teaching department. Our faculty are leaders in their research disciplines and are among USC's most distinguished teachers.


Physics and Astronomy are both going through revolutionary times mirrored by the research programs in the department, which range from theory of High Energy Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, Nanoscale Physics, and Solar Physics to Cosmology. Large Scale Computation is an important field with several state-of-the-art facilities available to students and faculty.


Emerging areas of research in our department include the rapidly developing fields of Quantum Information Science and Physical Biology. Physical Biology is where the quantitative skills of physicists address important problems coming from biological systems.


Our programs have proven to be an ideal preparation for a broad range of interdisciplinary areas for which a quantitative training is crucial: this includes not only traditional physics careers, but also engineering, business, and finance. Our department is currently introducing innovative courses in biological physics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Undergraduate Education

For undergraduate students, we offer majors in Physics, Astronomy, Biophysics, and a joint Physics/Computer Science program. We also offer minors in Physics and Astronomy.

Graduate Studies

For graduate students, we offer a Ph.D. in Physics. If you are a prospective graduate student, please take a look at the Ph.D. section for all the information on application to our Ph.D. program.

Physicist Named New Dornsife Dean

Exciting News!

We welcome experimental cosmologist Amber Miller as the new Dean of Dornsife College. Amber’s research is focused on observations of the cosmic microwave background and the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect, trying to shed light on the origin and evolution of the universe. 

For more information, please visit the link below:


Faculty Milestones

We extend our sincere and heartfelt best wishes to Richard Thompson, who has retired after 46 years of teaching at USC. He has been awarded the designation of Associate Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Faculty Awards

Congratuations to Prof. Clifford Johnson for being named a 2016 Simons Fellowship recipient in Theoretical Physics! 

Prof. Johnson's project is titled "Implications of Extended Gravitational Thermodynamics". 

The Fellows Programs provide grants to faculty who wish to pursue research while on leave from their teaching/administrative obligations. Doing so can promote creativity and intellectual stimulation, and the goal of the Simons Fellowship is to facilitate this type of growth. 

To honor the 2016 Simons Fellowship recipients, the Simons Foundation has placed an advertisement in the "Science Times" section of the New York Times. It will appear in the March 22 edition. 

Congratulations to Prof. Christoph Haselwandter on his NSF CAREER award.

CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.

Colloquium Series

Stay tuned for details about our upcoming Fall 2016 Colloquium talks....

Giving Website

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • University of Southern California
  • 825 Bloom Walk
  • ACB 439
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0484