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WIU Physics Department Ranked Second Nationally Among Master's Degree Institutions

October 7, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University has been ranked second in the nation among institutions offering a master's degree in physics as its highest degree. The ranking was made by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

The number two ranking follows a number 11 ranking two years ago and a number 13 ranking four years ago. The AIP ranks degree-granting institutions nationwide and reports statistics on all U.S. physics programs, following the demographics and trends of the physical sciences community.

"This is a strong testimony to the growth of our physics graduate program here at Western Illinois University," said WIU Physics Chair Professor Mark Boley. "It could not have happened without the outstanding graduate faculty of our department who work tirelessly in involving our graduate students, many of them from their first day on campus, in cutting-edge, faculty mentored student research projects that strengthen and complement our academic program and make it so attractive to incoming students."

In the WIU class of 2014, 16 students received master's degrees in physics. Only Northern Arizona University ranked higher, awarding 20 master's degrees in 2014.

Boley said WIU's ranking could not have happened without the physics department's faculty and staff working as a "unified team."

"We recruit across the Midwestern States, from among our own undergraduate program, and even internationally through our faculty connections with earlier alumni and collaboration with former schools," said Boley. "We also benefit greatly from working with a very coordinated International Studies Program here at Western that assists our international students from the first day that they apply, through the arrival and orientation process, and their whole on-campus experience; and we work together to be certain that our alumni stay connected and continue to recruit new students for our graduate program."

Boley credits the support of College of Arts and Sciences Dean Sue Martinelli-Fernandez and WIU's graduate school with helping increase the number of assistantships available to graduate students.

For more information on AIP, visit For more information about the WIU Department of Physics, visit

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