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The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a solid foundation in the fundamentals as well as a diverse range of specializations for M.S. and Ph.D. research. Currently there are 27 regular faculty members; 8 emeritus, adjunct, and visiting faculty; 15 post-doctoral associates; 9 staff; and approximately 70 graduate students. The size of the physics department is sufficient to provide research opportunities in a select range of physics subspecialities (condensed matter physics, plasma physics, astronomy/astrophysics, physics education research, and biophysics) without being so large that students are lost in the crowd. Opportunities for collaborative research with other departments in the University also exist and physics graduate students have worked with faculty in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics and chemistry. Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in physics, with upper-division courses in electricity and magnetism, mechanics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and mathematical methods.

Career Profile

Both large and small companies actively recruit physics majors because of their strong problem-solving abilities. Also, the computer and mathematical skills acquired by physics majors make them attractive to companies. Other employers of new physics bachelor's are the federal government, state governments, the military and high schools.

Professional physicists have excellent job prospects in our technological society. An idea of current industrial opportunities is available online: career information for professional physicists is available from the American Physical Society. Employment statistics are available from the American Institute of Physics.

Common paths include a postdoctoral fellowship, research associate at another academic institution or government lab. Your Ph.D. adviser can assist with connections. It is a very good idea to try and build your own connections during your research work by meeting with scientists at conferences and professional meetings. Many conferences also hold job fairs, which are also worth attending.

Program Application Requirements

Resume/CV, Statement of Purpose, 3 Letters of recommendation, Supplemental Application / Portfolio

Program Application Test Requirements


Application Deadlines

Fall Deadline

January 15

Spring Deadline


Summer Deadline


English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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