University News

WIU Physics Department Tops National List of Master's Degrees Awarded

March 7, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University Department of Physics is ranked first in the nation by the American Physical Society's list of the average number of master's degrees awarded per year between 2015-2017.

WIU awarded an average of 17 degrees per year during that period, with the closest school being California State University Long Beach, with an average of 14. The ranking is based on a statistical analysis of data maintained by the United States Department of Education.

"During this same time frame, WIU was also ranked number one for the total number of female students receiving MS Physics degrees, which is 25 percent of the total MS Physics degrees awarded at WIU, among the MS only institutions in the nation," said Interim Physics Chair Kishor T. Kapale. "It demonstrates that we are consistent in both of our recruiting and retention efforts for our MS program."

Kapale said department faculty are invested in the success of each student, spending many hours training students, and also in working on research and development of presentation skills to prepare them to participate in conferences.

"Thus, we train well-rounded MS level physicists," he said. "We train our teaching support assistants in the art of teaching, grading and professional research practices. This individual attention has allowed us to maintain a 100 percent graduation rate. We take pride in helping the students throughout the application process, and advise them to take classes appropriate to their background preparation in their undergraduate program."

Earlier this year, the physics department was ranked second in the nation by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) among institutions offering a master's in physics as its highest degree. This was the fourth year in a row WIU has been ranked second on that list.

In 2016-17, WIU awarded 15 Master of Science (MS) in Physics degrees, while the first-place institution awarded 16 degrees.

For more information about the WIU Department of Physics, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing