Welcome to the Department of Physics

The Department of Physics was founded in 1965 when the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle first opened. ​By 1968, the Illinois Board of Higher Education had approved several doctoral programs and our first two physics PhD students ​graduated only six years later in 1973. In 1982, the Chicago Circle Campus joined with the U of I Medical Center to form the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Despite our relative youth, UIC is today recognized as one of the world’s best universities under the age of fifty, and in 2014 was ranked as such by the Times Higher Education as 3rd in the US and 13th worldwide. With over 27,000 students, UIC is the largest university in the Chicago area, encompasses 15 colleges, includes the nation’s largest medical school, and has annual research expenditures exceeding $300 million.

The Department of Physics currently has 24 tenure-track faculty members, two clinical faculty, one research faculty, and up to eight lecturers who teach a wide variety of physics classes to students across the whole campus as well as mentor around 70 undergraduate physics majors and 85 graduate students. We offer exciting and challenging programs of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as active research facilities and relationships with leading research labs in Illinois and around the world. Additional details can be found in the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies areas.

Our faculty are internationally recognized for their forefront research and include a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an Oliver E. Buckley prize winner, a Sloan Fellow, a Leibniz Professor, an AAAS Fellow, two RIKEN/BNL Fellows, two SPIE Fellows, five NSF Career Award winners, nine APS fellows, and numerous other award and prize recipients. Our faculty are also dedicated teachers and mentors and include a winner of the Award for Excellence in Teaching, ​three Silver Circle awardees, and 13 teaching recognition program award winners. For more details check out the faculty and student awards sections in the “About Us” area.

The Department’s research expenditures are over $4 million per year and our faculty work across seven broad research areas of Applied Laser, Biological and Soft Matter, Condensed Matter, Materials Physics, Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, and Renewable Energy. UIC is home to state-of-the art research facilities built and utilized by physics researchers including the Microphysics Laboratory, the Microfabrication Application Laboratory, the Microimaging and Bioinformatics Laboratory, and the UIC Research Resources Center. Researchers work at many of the world’s premier research laboratories including Argonne National Lab, CERN, Fermilab, Brookhaven National Lab, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Our faculty have founded, and have significant collaboration with, other research laboratories and companies in the Chicagoland area. For more details check out the “Research” area.

UIC is also located in the heart of a world class city on one of the world’s great lakes. The City of Chicago surrounds the UIC campus, stretching in every direction and offering extraordinary cultural and intellectual opportunities. The UIC campus itself is located just west of the Chicago downtown “loop” area, and is easily accessible via three major interstate highways, two local “L” subways, numerous CTA buses, and Metra trains that reach out to the surrounding suburbs. O’Hare and Midway airports are a quick subway ride away.

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The mission of the Department of Physics at UIC is to excel in teaching while pushing forward the frontiers of physics. We aim to provide our students with a first rate education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with access to cutting-edge research experiences. Our faculty is engaged in a wide variety of world-class research activities from fundamental to applied, much of which is interdisciplinary in nature and reaches out to scholars in other fields, both inside and outside the university.