Discover How Your Applied Physics Master’s Degree Can Create New Breakthroughs

WPI’s new applied physics master’s degree program lets you structure your own academic and professional path in areas ranging from photonics to medical physics.

With a commitment to using physics applications in research and interfaces with other disciplines, WPI’s new applied physics master’s degree prepares you for work in academia, industry, government, and healthcare. Close collaboration with our faculty and access to our state-of-the-art facilities and labs will strengthen the work you do at WPI.  

WPI Teacher working with students in a lab on a computer

An applied physics master’s degree from WPI offers research choices that match your interests and reflect the needs in the industry. The degree program gives you opportunities to consider how physics and mathematics principles work with engineering design practices to improve existing or create new devices and systems. This degree will prepare you for a career at national and international laboratories, industry, education, and academia. With focused, cross-cutting research and challenging coursework, the applied physics master’s degree encourages exploration in areas at the interface of physics and other scientific disciplines.

Students in the program will choose from five concentrations, all of which hold a different impact for the world. With one of these five concentrations, you’ll dive into research that solves real-world problems and invites new approaches.

  • Biophysics and soft condensed matter
  • Medical physics
  • Nanoscience and technology
  • Photonics
  • Radiological sciences

Learn more about how WPI offers thorough and cutting-edge applied physics programs

Curriculum for an Applied Physics Master’s Degree

The applied physics master’s is a 30-credit hour program. Students in the program will personalize their course of study by choosing one of five concentration areas as a focus and will work closely with the faculty in their chosen area. Program requirements will vary based on the concentration, but all include thematically related coursework and research.

Research for Applied Physics Master’s Degree

You’ll find expanded opportunities in WPI’s collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment and state-of-the-art facilities. As you choose one concentration to focus your applied physics master’s degree studies on, you’ll find that our labs and facilities offer the resources needed to amplify the impact of your work.

Applied physics researchers will find space and equipment at the WPI Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, as well as labs such as the Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) Laboratory, the Center for Computational Nanoscience with Computer Clusters, and the photonics-focused Laboratory for Education & Application Prototypes (LEAP @ WPI/QCC).

Interested in degrees similar to the MS in applied physics? Explore our MS in physics.

Financial Information

Tuition is based on the current curriculum for the applied physics MS program of 30 credits. The current cost is $1,610 per credit, making the total $96,600 in tuition only (AY 2020–21). For more detailed information on tuition—including fees—visit the complete breakdown of costs on the Financial Aid page.

Faculty Profiles

Izabela RC Stroe

Izabela Stroe

Associate Teaching Professor

For me, Physics is like a sandbox. It gives me the opportunity to play and discover, test, be creative, learn something new. At the same time, I am passionate about passing the thrill of discovery to my students. Teaching is a two-way street in which both parties get enriched from each other. I welcome and embrace the partnership. I also believe that college is the biggest and best opportunity in one's life to discover one's calling and do something about it and I invite students to take full advantage of it.

Qi  Wen

Qi Wen

Associate Professor

Professor Wen is an experimental biophysicist who is interested in applying physical methods to understand biological phenomena. By measuring the mechanical properties of living cells and the mechanical interaction between cells and ECM, he aims to understand how cells convert external mechanical signals to internal biochemical signals that govern cellular function, including cell morphology, migration, and differentiation. His research will help to design novel materials for wound healing, tissue engineering, and tumor treatment.

Kun-Ta  Wu

Kun-Ta Wu

Assistant Professor

Kun-Ta Wu is an assistant professor of physics. Before joining WPI, he was a physics lecturer at Brandeis University, where he had previously been a postdoctoral associate. In his research, he investigates interactions among miscellaneous DNA and proteins. He uses proteins such as molecular motors to generate dynamics, as well as DNA to create specific, thermal-reversible interactions. With DNA and proteins, his goal is to advance our understanding of self-organization of active matter as well as to create new bio-inspired materials. He earned a PhD in physics at New York University.

Padmanabhan K. Aravind

Padmanabhan K. Aravind


In my 25 plus years at WPI, I have been actively engaged in teaching and research at a variety of levels. Our Projects Program is the place where these two activities naturally come together, and the Major Qualifying Projects (or senior theses) I have guided over the years have been among my most rewarding experiences.

Nancy A. Burnham

Nancy A. Burnham


Nancy Burnham graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1987 with a Ph.D. in Physics. Her dissertation concerned the surface analysis of photovoltaic materials. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she became interested in scanning probe microscopy, in particular its application to detecting material properties at the nanoscale.

David Christopher Medich

David Christopher Medich

Associate Professor

I perform experimental and computational (Monte Carlo) research in the field of applied nuclear physics with a focus on Medical and Health Physics. Presently my research group is investigating: the development of a unique technique to enable high-resolution in-vivo functional imaging using neutrons, the adaptation of a 169Yb brachytherapy source to enable localized intensity-modulated radiation therapy, the creation of a field-deployable device for radiological and topological characterization, and are analyzing the time-dependent resuspension of radioactive Am-241 into the atmosphere.

Douglas Todd Petkie

Douglas T. Petkie

Professor and Department Head

It is my pleasure to work with students and colleagues to elevate the impact WPI has on the world. WPI has a dynamic and energetic environment with a strong focus on experiential learning and interdisciplinary research. The balance between theory and practice and the passion everyone shares for the WPI Plan and the Project Based Curriculum makes this a truly unique place, where you get degrees for project accomplishments rather than courses completed.

Earn a Traditional MS in Physics

Are you interested in investigating traditional physics as a career path? Explore our MS in Physics, which challenges students to work on boundary-pushing, hands-on research. Already have a master's and exploring PhD options? WPI’s doctorate in physics prepares you for a career in academia or industry. As a PhD student, you’ll study biophysics and nanoscience alongside word-renowned faculty. Find out more about our PhD in Physics.

Do You Need to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Physics First?

If you’re interested in applied physics but need a foundation, WPI’s Applied Physics BS gives you the knowledge and shows you how to apply it to real-world problems facing physicists and scientists around the world.

Maybe you’re just fascinated by physics on the small scale but don’t want to major in the field? WPI’s minor in nanoscience can give you the background you want. Explore our minor in nanoscience to enhance your understanding.

Are You A Physics Educator?

Do you want to increase your understanding of your subject matter and help your students find their passion for physics? Our Master of Science in Physics for Educators (MPED) will give you the tools you need for your classroom.