Department of Physics



The Department of Physics at Western Illinois University strives to provide every undergraduate and graduate student the opportunity to fully realize his or her potential in a learning environment dedicated to excellence and to giving each individual student the one-on-one attention they need. We have a long history of teaching excellence and an enduring commitment to involve our students in the excitement and challenges of physics research. Our faculty will strive to know each student individually and each student will share in the unique opportunity of shaping the future of our department and of physics.

Last year the Department of Physics initiated an exciting new accelerated M.S. program, which provides high-achieving students the opportunity to complete both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physics within a five-year period. We have substantially revised all our degree programs in recent years, with the goal of providing each student the best possible preparation and an outstanding educational experience tailored to their individual needs. Our graduate program continues to grow and thrive, recently being ranked #13 in the nation by the American Institute of Physics for the number of M.S. degrees awarded. We continue to forge long-term relationships with regional high school physics teachers to provide them with needed resources and to ensure a smooth transition for graduating high school students into our undergraduate physics, pre-engineering and engineering physics programs.

The WIU Physics M.S. program was ranked #2 in the nation among institutions with the M.S. degree as the highest degree in Physics by the most recent American Institute of Physics Statistical Report. This is a real honor for our department, which testifies to the dedication and committed efforts of our faculty and staff, as well as the perseverance of our student body.  This accomplishment was made possible because our faculty and staff go the extra mile in recruiting students to our program, publicizing the great opportunities within our department, and retaining our students by providing the most wonderful academic resources as well as faculty-mentored research projects for them.   Furthermore, many of our previous students have been the best testimony of the strength of our program as they move on in their careers to further graduate work or into employment in academia or industry around the world and help send others our way.

Our dedicated faculty members have cutting-edge research programs in the areas of experimental, computational, and theoretical atomic-molecular-optical (AMO) physics and in experimental condensed matter. New and exciting research opportunities have been opened up for all of our students, thanks to the professional activity of our faculty and students.

As Physics Chairman, I invite you to explore all the opportunities offered by the Department of Physics and in doing so shaping the exciting future of Physics.

Dr. Mark Boley


Logo of the Research Inspiring Student Excellence (RISE) program of the Physics Department, College of Arts and Sciences, WIU.

Research Inspiring Student Excellence (RISE) program of the Physics Department, College of Arts and Sciences, WIU. The goal of the RISE program is to provide students with unique research and academic opportunities to enhance their professional development.

Why start with Pre-Engineering rather than Engineering at WIU?

A strong background of math and science courses is indispensable to enter any discipline-specific engineering degree. The Pre-Engineering program at WIU is specifically designed to provide this background for students who are interested in pursuing a career as a specialized engineer. Therefore, if you are interested in becoming a civil, mechanical, electrical, computer, aeronautical, biomedical, or materials engineer, or any other discipline-specific engineer, our Pre-Engineering program is the right starting point for your career. This program will strongly prepare you to succeed at the best discipline-specific engineering programs anywhere in the nation. The vast majority of engineering jobs require a discipline-specific engineering degree in your chosen area of specialization.