The Department of Physics offers a full complement of courses leading to the Ph.D. degree. Typically about 60 full-time graduate students are enrolled. Our graduate students come from all over the world (map). The department recognizes that faculty research activity is an essential ingredient in sustaining excellence in teaching. Faculty members carry out experimental and theoretical research in many subfields, and the results are communicated in refereed journals, in conferences and seminars, and in books. Much of the research is funded by federal grants.
The active participation of graduate students in research is integral to these efforts and is a major component of their education. The mission is to understand the fundamental origin and the mathematical description of physical phenomena. Graduate students learn to conduct original scientific research in physics.
In addition to the research areas represented in our department we have affiliated efforts in accelerator physics (in cooperation with Jefferson Lab) and materials characterization (in cooperation with NASA-Langley Research Center). The Physics Department maintains strong links with the W&M Applied Science Department and students can work on projects there as well.