Physical Sciences, Math and Engineering

A student works in the Student Creativity Center in Engineering’s Boelter Hall.

If you have a talent for numbers or like to take things apart — either with your hands or your imagination — this may be your field. Majors in physical sciences, math or engineering could give you the opportunity to explore our world, solve infrastructure and technology problems and improve human lives.

Academic Majors and Minors

Here are some of the majors and minors available in this field of study:

Most Popular Majors

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Statistics

Trending Majors

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astrophysics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Climate Science
  • Financial/Actuarial Mathematics
  • Geology
  • Mathematics for Teaching

Intriguing Majors

  • Accounting
  • Bioinformatics
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Geophysics
  • Planetary Physics
  • Teaching Secondary Mathematics
#9

in the world for mathematics

Academic Ranking of World Universities (2019)
#8

in the world for computer science and engineering

Academic Ranking of World Universities (2019)

Noteworthy Faculty

Here are just a few of the many professors in this field of study who’ve had a remarkable impact in their area of expertise.

 

A headshot of Professor Andrea Bertozzie

Andrea Bertozzi

Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Bertozzi thinks of math as a creative medium that can help solve real-world problems. One of her many projects includes developing algorithms for the deployment of robotic bees to help offset the declining bee population.

A headshot of Professor Henry Burton

Henry V. Burton

Assistant Professor and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Fascinated by structural/earthquake engineering and community resilience, Burton has received three National Science Foundation grants and one National Science CAREER Award to support his research.

A headshot of Professor Andrea Ghez

Andrea Ghez

Professor of Astronomy and Physics

Ghez took the first clear photo of the Milky Way, leading to the discovery of a supermassive black hole at its center and redefining our understanding of how galaxies form.

A headshot of Professor Terence Tao

Terrence Tao

Professor of Mathematics

Adept at math from an early age, Tao began attending university-level math courses at the age of nine. In 2006, he was a MacArthur Fellow and winner of the prestigious Fields Medal. He won the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics in 2014.

Notable Alumni

Bruins have achieved great heights in all walks of life — health, sports, entertainment, public service, science and technology, and arts and letters. Here are some alumni in this field of study who have had a noticeable impact on the world.

A headshot of UCLA alum Anna Lee Fisher

Anna Lee Fisher

Chemistry ’71, M.D. ’76, M.S. ’81

Chemist, medical doctor and astronaut

A headshot of UCLA alum Michael Morhaime

Michael Morhaime

Electrical Engineering ’90

Co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment

A headshot of UCLA alum Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy

Geology ’93, M.S. ’97, Ph.D. ’00

Professor of geology, structure and tectonics; Himalayan fault system field researcher

A headshot of UCLA alum Danica McKellar

Danica McKellar

Mathematics ’98

Co-author of the Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem, actress and New York Times best-selling author

Growth Careers in the Field

Here are a few examples of areas where this exciting field of study is growing and developing.

Statisticians

More widespread use of statistical analysis to make informed business, healthcare and policy decisions and the increase in available data on the internet for analysis are projected to result in 31% more jobs by 2028.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Due to increased public concern for the environment, this field is expected to grow 8% by 2028. Scientists and specialists will be sought out by state and local governments and in industries that hire consultants to analyze environmental issues and develop solutions.

Information Security Analysts

With cyberattacks on the rise, this field is projected to grow 32% by 2028. Companies will be looking for innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or creating computer networks issues.

Related Careers

Below, find examples of additional careers related to this field of study:

  • Academia and Research
  • Actuary
  • Agile Coach
  • Agriculture
  • Data Architect
  • Bioengineer
  • Chemical, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical
  • Computer Programmer
  • Horticulture
  • Forestry and Food
  • Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Enterprise Architect
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Geoscientists
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Security Architect
  • Software Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst

Testimonials

My friends and I will sometimes stay up for hours discussing the dielectric and semi-conductive characteristics of materials and how those properties affect and help us understand everything in our physical world. Trust me, if you take the course Introduction to Materials Science Engineering, your mind will be blown.

— 
Alyson Kim, civil engineering major

See What This Field is Like at UCLA

Professor Hong engages with Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory students.

Professor Dennis Hong, whose research includes humanoid robots, engages with Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) students.

Students study, eat and relax at outdoor tables at the Bombshelter Bistro.

Students study, eat and relax at the South Campus Student Center’s sunny outdoor tables in the Court of Sciences, an inviting open space between the science buildings.

Professor of Chemistry Neil Garg discusses organic in front of a white board.

Neil Garg, a multi-award-winning professor and Guggenheim fellow, and his family live alongside students on the Hill through the faculty-in-residence program.

Students and Faculty walk in front of La Kretz Hall

La Kretz Hall is home to the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability, where game-changing research and interdisciplinary problem-solving turn science into solutions.

A student works in the Robotics and Mechanisms Lab.

A student works in the Robotics and Mechanisms Lab (RoMeLa), the center for robotics research and education for graduate and undergraduate students.

The crisscrossing walkways at the California NanoSystems Institute provide architectural appeal.

Bruins appreciate the crisscrossing walkways of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), where the next generation of scientists and engineers learn about nanoscience research.

A student works in the lab of Neil Garg’s organic chemistry class, one of the most popular classes on campus.

A student works in the lab for Neil Garg’s organic chemistry class. Every year, Garg inspires his students to create music videos about organic chemistry. So far, they’ve produced over 500.

Institutes and Research

UCLA offers many resources for deepening your knowledge in your chosen field, including hundreds of research centers, institutes and labs that encourage collaboration across disciplines. Here are a few of the many options in this area:

California NanoSystems Institute

CNSI is an integrated research facility with a goal to encourage university collaboration with industry leaders and enable the rapid commercialization of discoveries in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

UCLA Curtis Center

The Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching is dedicated to developing and supporting high-quality K–16 mathematics and teacher-preparation programs.

Institute for Pure & Applied Mathematics

IPAM’s goal is to spark interdisciplinary collaboration by bringing together researchers from different disciplines or from different areas of mathematics.

UCLA Institute for Planets and Exoplanets (iPLEX)

iPLEX is an academic consortium that bridges the interests of UCLA faculty, researchers and students of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences; Physics and Astronomy; and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with interdisciplinary collaboration.

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