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WIU Physics Department Ranks Second Nationally for Fourth Year

January 10, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – For the fourth year in a row, the Department of Physics at Western Illinois University has been ranked second in the nation by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) among institutions offering a master's degree in physics as its highest degree.

In 2016-17, WIU awarded 15 Master of Science (MS) in Physics degrees, while the first-place institution awarded 16 degrees. The AIP Statistical Research Center collects and reports statistics on all U.S. physics programs nationwide and follows the demographics and trends of the physical sciences community. There are 56 institutions nationwide who award the MS as the highest degree in physics.

"Being the second largest MS physics program in the nation for four years in a row is a great honor for our department," said WIU Interim Physics Chair Kishor T. Kapale. "It is a testament to the commitment of our faculty and staff and the hard work they put in to train the students and in the graduate student recruitment and retention efforts."

Kapale said the physics department strives to offer individual attention to all of its students and to cater to their varied ethnic and international backgrounds.

"This demonstrates that we have been able to maintain the appeal of the program to a large cohort of students and are able to see them through graduation while maintaining high standards," he said. "The placement of our MS graduates, either in the PhD programs nationwide or in various industry positions, has been possibly the main impetus to recruit, retain and maintain the productivity of the MS program."

Kapale said the physics department has been paying careful attention to modernizing the curriculum and to the assessment of the MS degree. The effort is valued by the physics graduate students he said, because they feel adequately prepared for their future careers.

"Another unique feature of our program has been the enhanced emphasis on research training for upper level undergraduate and graduate students," he said. "We offer research opportunities in theoretical, computational and experimental AMO physics, experimental condensed-matter physics and radio astronomy."

Students in the physics program at WIU have the opportunity to participate in faculty-mentored research, to publish their work and to present at prestigious national and international conferences. The opportunities provide a variety of options for students post-graduation.

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

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