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Physics is the most fundamental of all sciences. At WPI, we encourage the curiosity physicists have about how the world works by giving them the resources and the tools to further the study of the nature and properties of matter and energy. Physicists are problem solvers. They are always looking for new ways to approach questions and challenges and develop solutions based on our observations and experimentations.

We want students to follow their passions so a physics degree from WPI is apt to look different for each person. The program is structured so you can take the path that appeals to your natural curiosity. Through project work, students explore everything from developing more protective equipment for athletes to exploring nanoparticles. Students in our specialized master’s in physics education program work in classrooms to improve physics education, teaching methods, and student learning.

WPI’s world-renowned faculty members inspire both undergraduate and graduate students to become engaged in research projects—which often leads to students making important contributions and writing articles for research journals before graduation. Our faculty works collaboratively with students across disciplines, making discoveries in nuclear science, photonics and optics, new materials, biophysics, statistical and solid state physics, spectroscopy, and electromagnetism. 

Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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From the WPI Journal

A powerful attraction keeps physics alumna Diana Hart ’92 in the energy industry. Read more about Diana in the Fall 2017 issue of the WPI Journal.

The Life of a Scientist

Physics professor David Medich and student Benjamin Dringoli '17 are among more than a dozen members of the WPI scientific community who shared what being a scientist means to them. 

WPI's Collaborative Environment Inspires Innovation

WPI faculty and students work side-by-side in our labs and classrooms. Whether they are working on research that advances the field or exploring a new approach to matter and energy, we encourage experimentation that often leads to innovation.

The Annual Goddard Cup - Water Rocket Competition

June 5, 2019

The Annual Goddard Cup - Water Rocket Competition is hosted by the Department of Physics and honors the legacy of Robert Goddard at WPI.

This event is open to middle to high school student teams.  We look forward to you joining us in striving for the Cup!

Enriching Summer Programs

Now is the time to start planning for enriching pre-collegiate summer STEM programs hosted by the Department of Physics. Registration for our various programs opens on February 4, 2017. Students of many ages are invited to find out why STEM fields are so exciting and how they can turn their interests into a career.

SPARK is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.
IGNITE is for rising 7th and 8th graders.
LAUNCH is for rising 9th and 10th graders.
Frontiers is an on-campus residential program for rising 11th and 12th graders.

The Department of Physics also hosts summer programs for Girls Inc. Eureka!® -- a year-round STEM-focused cohort program for girls in 8th through 12th grades.

Facts and Figures

#10

Physics major in the nation

College Factual (2020)
35

current faculty members have won the NSF Career Award

National Science Foundation (2020)
#6

best career placement

Princeton Review (2019)
#18

for mid-career salary earning potential of undergraduates 

PayScale.com (2016)

Career Outlook

Physicists are some of the best problem solvers, so their career opportunities are vast. Graduates often move into research, academic, or management positions in fields ranging from medical to aerospace to power generation.

News

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Destin Heilman, associate teaching professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will teach his online classes with a lightboard. Photo by Destin Heilman.
August 07, 2020

Announcements

October 09, 2020
School of Arts & Sciences
February 14, 2020
School of Arts & Sciences
February 06, 2020
School of Arts & Sciences

Media Coverage

More than 70 media outlets, including the Latin Trade , Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and the Oklahoman carried the news of WPI welcoming 19 full-time educators and researchers to its faculty for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Rolling Stone interviewed Marco Kaltofen, associate research engineer, physics, for this article. (17th graph). “Essentially what you are doing is taking an underground radioactive reservoir and bringing it to the surface where it can interact with people and the environment,” he told the publication.