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Physics and Astronomy Physics & Astronomy


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Exploring Laws of the Universe

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washington State University is built around a small but highly productive faculty whose research expertise provides students a wide variety of research experiences. The highly-rigorous undergraduate program prepares graduates to be competitive in top graduate programs or for employment. The PhD program and the thesis Master’s degree blend demanding coursework with cutting-edge research to prepare graduates for jobs in academia, industry, and government labs. Our programs emphasize core academic competency and research excellence.

Night sky with lots of stars and a tree and people


People using large telescope


is the study of the material world. Its historical mission was to push the boundaries of superlatives: the smallest subatomic particle, the quickest time interval, the most precise measurement, the most perplexing of unexplained phenomena.

In the 21st century, these challenges are augmented with a need to understand how particles interact under extreme conditions or complex situations. For instance, we seek to fulfill the promise of nanotechnology, quantum technologies and quantum degenerate gases, computational simulation, and biophysical understanding.


is the study of the universe from the size scales of planets to the ultimate size scale of all. It encompasses the risks of meteor impacts, the intricate ballet of planetary systems, and the warping of spacetime near a black hole.

The WSU Department of Physics and Astronomy aims to prepare young scientists for careers in these and related areas.We offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees for students that aspire to the challenge of pushing back the frontiers of human knowledge. Please explore these pages to find out more about our laboratories, programs, and internationally respected faculty.