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.
The Applied Physics Graduate Program Has The Following Program Concentrations:
Undergraduate Research Projects Showcase
A celebration of research, design, and creative theses—a requirement of every graduating senior through the Major Qualifying Project—takes place each spring on campus. Student teams representing all academic departments present their work to their faculty advisors, external sponsors, and the community-at-large, and the public is invited.
From the WPI Journal
A powerful attraction keeps physics alumna Diana Hart ’92 in the energy industry.
More from the WPI Journal
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
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 your 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 in February. 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.
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
Physics major in the nation
current faculty members have won the NSF Career Award during their careers
best career placement
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.