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 and teaching methods.

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 and particle physics, modern and classical optics, statistical and solid state physics, electromagnetism, and astrophysics. 

The Annual Goddard Cup - Water Rocket Competition

June 14, 2017

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.

Upcoming Physics PhD Launch Program April 15, 2017 - Postponed

The Physics PhD Launch Program has been postponed. Contact department head Doug Petkie at for more information.


Interested in applying to a doctoral program in physics? Take the first step in an academic career in physics with the Physics PhD launch program at WPI. This program helps juniors and seniors prepare competitive graduate school applications. Women and traditionally underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. Space is limited and admission to the workshop is competitive.

The Physics PhD Launch flyer offers more information and details about the program.

Exploring the Possibilities of Physics

At WPI, our curriculum empowers students to explore what physics means to them—and allows them to follow their passion. Germano Iannacchione, physics professor, explains:

Facts and Figures


current faculty members have won the NSF Career Award

National Science Foundation (2015)

Best Career Placement

The Princeton Review (2017)

for mid-career salary earning potential of undergraduates (2016)
Top 20

smartest colleges in the country

Lumosity (2012)

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.

Physics Help Schedule

If students need help with physics coursework, they can receive additional assistance at our many Physics Help Sessions. Please look at the Physics Help Schedule (PDF) to find a time that fits your schedule.