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College of Humanities & Sciences

Department of Physics

About us

The Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Physics has 20 faculty members, approximately 20 graduate students and nearly 140 undergraduate physics majors.

The department has an active research program with approximately $1.6 million annually in research expenditures.

Mission Statement

The basic mission of the physics department is the generation and dissemination of knowledge about the discipline of physics and the training of students in the basic skills of that discipline.  We prepare our undergraduate students for a wide variety of careers in technical disciplines.  To Physics Graduate Students we teach advanced concepts, applications, and skills that reach to the frontiers of current research in physics.  Our research activities keep our faculty at the frontiers of knowledge and offer both our undergraduate and our graduate students opportunities to participate in advancing those frontiers.

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Physics Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, a leading institution that prides itself in providing a great learning experience to our undergraduate and graduate students, where professors and students are co-workers engaged in the latest scientific discoveries leading the way to tomorrow’s world, and where every day brings a new scientific discovery, excitement and challenge. We have faculty engaged in studies of nanostructures, atomic clusters, cluster-assembled materials, semiconductor defects and surfaces, spintronic materials, biophysics and biomaterials, medical physics, and even gravitational theory and cosmology.  We teach what we are researching on and we research on what we are teaching, making learning a unique experience.

Undergraduate programs

We offer an undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Physics.  Many of our majors combine their Physics BS with majors in Mathematics, and other disciplines.  In addition, we offer a unique double major with the School of Engineering.  Our BS graduates are teaching in high schools, working in government and industrial laboratories, starting their own businesses, and pursuing graduate degrees in Physics and Engineering.

Graduate programs

We also offer a graduate program leading to the Master of Science in Physics and Applied Physics and, in cooperation with the Department of Chemistry, a graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.  Both of these programs use a Plan of Study format that lets students and their research advisors choose the courses that will advance them toward their individual goals.


We are committed to excellence in both research and teaching.  Our 10 tenured/tenure eligible faculty conduct both experimental and theoretical research in nanostructures, atomic clusters, cluster-assembled materials, semiconductor defects and surfaces, spintronic materials, biophysics and biomaterials, as well as research in gravitational theory and cosmology.  Several of our 6 term faculty members also participate in research while helping us to teach the service courses that are required by a major university.


A weekly colloquia program brings distinguished speakers to the department from academia and industry. Arrangements are made for the speakers to meet with students to discuss research and other topics. The program results in graduates well-prepared for careers in industry, academics and national research laboratories.

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