The first indications of physics teaching at the University of Barcelona can be found in studies stating that in the mid-sixteenth century in the Studium Generale, the Faculty of Arts appears to have had professors of Philosophy, Mathematics, and Astrology and Metaphysics. The move of the University of Barcelona to Cervera in 1714, ordered by Philip V, left a gap in education in the city. In response, academies and schools of a university nature began to emerge, such as the Acadèmia Reial i Militar de Matemàtiques (Royal Military Academy of Mathematics), the Col·legi de Cirurgia de Barcelona (College of Surgery of Barcelona), the Junta de Comerç (Council of Commerce) and the Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona (Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona), in which the subject of physics was taught. Years later, normality was restored and in 1842 the University of Barcelona was reestablished in the city. From the constitution of the Faculty of Sciences in 1857, faculty assemblies determined the governance, administration and development of various aspects of academic life. All the professors attended the assemblies, which were always presided over by the dean of the faculty, with the help of the secretary.
After the Civil War, the figure of faculty vice-dean was created. The increase in the complexity of management led to the creation in 1966 of section assemblies corresponding to the five sections of sciences. Each section assembly had a president and a secretary and was held in addition to the faculty assembly. In our case, on 24 November 1967, the first Physics Section assembly was held. The complexity and growth also led to the Faculty of Sciences being separated in 1974 into the five current faculties: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology, each with its own dean and independent organization. In 1985, they were grouped as the Division of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics. However, the new UB statutes of 2005 eliminated the divisions. The continuous, constant increase in the number of students over the history of the UB has meant that there has been a permanent lack of space, leading to a series of redistributions and reorganizations. Once the University of Barcelona had been reestablished in 1842, it was initially situated in the building of the Convent del Carme in the Ramblas. In 1879, the new building in Plaça Universitat was opened, with the faculties of Sciences and Arts. During the post-war period, the number of students increased constantly. At the start of the 1950s, the project of constructing new facilities began on the university campus in the Pedralbes area. At the assembly of the Faculty of Sciences on 8 February 1966, it was noted that there was "satisfaction in the works having started on the new building for the section of Chemistry, which will temporarily also house the section of Physics". The new building on the Diagonal Campus was opened at the start of academic year 1969-1970. Despite successive requests for a separate building for teaching Physics, the plans did not progress for various reasons. However, a classroom building was approved for the Faculty of Physics on land adjacent to the junction of Carrer Pascual i Vila and Carrer de Pau Gargallo. The first stone was laid on 21 January 1986, and the first class was taught in October 1987.
In 1990, the expansion of the Faculty of Physics was studied, but it did not come about until a new agreement for a three-phase expansion was signed with the Faculty of Chemistry in July 1996 for shared spaces, extension of Physics and extension of Chemistry. In April 1998, works to expand Physics and Chemistry began that, once finished, enabled the transfer of departments and laboratories during the first months of 2005. In 2004, the Solar Atrium was completed, which was officially opened in November 2006. This is a shared courtyard and meeting place between the faculties of Physics and Chemistry. In 2005, to coincide with the International Year of Physics, the students proposed covering part of the southern wall with a mural. They organized a competition in agreement with the governing teams. The winning proposal consisted of paintings referring to the great scientists in the history of humanity. They were completed in 2006. In 2008, the construction of a clean room was approved on the ground floor of the old part of the building. The construction began the same year and was completed in June 2009.
In the reestablished University of Barcelona, the first official statements on teaching physics appeared in the 1845 syllabus, known as the Pidal Plan, according to which all science studies were concentrated in the Faculty of Philosophy. In 1857, the Claudio Moyano Law of Public Instruction divided the Faculty of Philosophy into two faculties: that of Arts and that of Sciences, which was initially subdivided into three sections (Exact, Physics and Natural). However, there was not a specific degree in physics. An analysis of this period reveals successive variations, modifications and adaptations that appeared in subsequent plans, which meant that the sections or specializations of the degree in sciences changed, but physics was always present. In these changes, there were either two sections (Physico-mathematical and Natural Sciences or Physico-mathematical and Physico-chemical Sciences), or an evolution into three sections (Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences; Physico-mathematical, Physico-chemical and Natural Sciences; or Physico-mathematical, Chemical and Natural Sciences).
In 1900, the reform of Antonio García Alix divided the Faculty of Sciences into four sections: Exact, Physical, Chemical and Natural Sciences (the latter was not created at the UB until 1910), with differentiated study plans. In this way, the specialization of a degree in the Physical Sciences became consolidated. Each degree was comprised of four courses corresponding to four years. The doctoral degree took around two years (a minimum of one year) with a final examination before a panel in Madrid. This basic structure of four years for a degree remained until after the Civil War. A new plan of 1944 presented the innovation that the degree in sciences, which continued to include the four specializations, would be taken in five years, with a subdivision into ten semesters. The plan of 1953, with a division of Natural Sciences into Biological and Geological Sciences, established five science degrees with the same first year for all of them. In the same year, a decree enabled the University of Barcelona to award the qualification of doctor. In 1954, the first doctoral thesis in Physical Sciences was defended. Another plan of 1964 updated the subjects and made the shared first year selective. In other words, students could not go on to the following years unless they had passed all the subjects in the first year. Other notable plans are: that of 1975, which continued with a five-year degree grouped into two cycles; that of 1992, which reduced the degree to four years, divided into eight semesters; that of 1999, which introduced improvements to adapt to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education and Science, with almost total division into a semester schedule; and finally that of 2009, which was the last reform following the guidelines of the Bologna Plan, which left a four-year curriculum. In 1992, the Faculty of Physics started to offer a course in Electronic Engineering, a second cycle course that can be accessed after taking the first cycle of Physics or certain courses in Technical Engineering along with bridging courses. In 2009, as a legacy of this second cycle, the degree in Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering was established. In 2010, the degree in Biomedical Engineering was created. It is taken in the Faculty of Physics and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, which is responsible for managing the course.
In 2006, also under the guidelines of the Bologna Plan, master's degree course were started. Currently, nine master's degrees are taught at the Faculty, some of which are interfaculty or interuniversity degrees.