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Science student working on biophysics research at a microscope


As a physics major at IUPUI, you’ll be a part of small classes and an interactive learning environment with challenging material and lab work. We’re not a big department, so you’ll get personal attention as you join a tight-knit group of students and faculty.

Students here reap the benefits of small classes, an interactive learning environment and challenging material and lab work. As early as their freshman year, our undergraduates are able to participate in real research with renowned faculty. Our undergraduate students have co-authored research papers and presented at national conferences.

We're a community of learners and students thrive here. Students support each other through peer-lead mentoring, providing a unique environment where students become leaders by teaching others. Physics club, volunteer programs and intramural sports are just a few of the opportunities for students to get involved outside of the classroom.

We're great scientists, but more importantly, we're innovative teachers. As a department, and a university, we've developed teaching methods that engage and encourage students--and are used at universities throughout the United States. Simply put, we care about our students.

Lastly, we're one of seven departments in the School of Science, situated in the heart of Indianapolis, near five hospitals, the Indiana University schools of medicine, dentistry and nursing, and countless science and technology companies. Through internships and undergrad research, our students have opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, across campus, and across the academic and business communities. Our graduates emerge as well-rounded scientists whose experiences have prepared them to solve the problems of the future.

A Message from the Chair

My colleagues and I take great pleasure in exploring the physical world and relating our knowledge to others. Physics is an endlessly fascinating field that encompasses matter, energy, and all of the interactions among them. It seeks to answer questions about the tiniest subatomic particles and about the universe itself. Using advanced mathematics, supercomputers, ultrahigh vacuum, superconducting magnets, and a host of instruments large and small, the physics faculty at IUPUI seek to create new knowledge about the world around us. 

We teach courses in physics that appeal to students at every level. Students who have no prior knowledge of physics, those who need physics to pursue their career, and those who would devote themselves to physics, will find courses that suit their interests and needs. We offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in physics, and have programs that allow students to specialize in biophysics, physics teaching, and combinations of physics with mechanical and electrical engineering.

A degree in physics can be the beginning of an extraordinary career. Physics majors become doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer specialists, teachers, researchers, and leaders in business and government. As of this writing, there are three physicists in the US congress.

In closing, I wish you the best in your exploration of physics, our department, and IUPUI.


Andy Gavrin, Associate Professor and Chair

Mission & History


The physics department at IUPUI devotes itself to this mission:

  • Deliver a high quality education in physics to our undergraduate majors and our graduate students
  • Provide high quality courses in physics and astronomy to students in other disciplines at IUPUI
  • Conduct world class research in select areas of physics
  • Serve as a resource for the University and the community in central Indiana, and complement the roles played by IU and PU within the state.
  • Develop and foster an environment in the Department within which faculty members can thrive as they contribute to the teaching, research and service missions of the University.

Physics@IUPUI: A Brief History

The Department of Physics traces its beginning to 1969 when it became a part of the Purdue School of Science through an agreement between Indiana University and Purdue University merging their Indianapolis campuses to form IUPUI. Forrest Meiere was appointed as the first Chairman of the newly formed department, and he recruited the first ten faculty members who were hired to carry out the teaching mission of IUPUI. Subsequent hiring of faculty members, especially through the 1970s, was done to replace retiring or departing faculty members, and it was at this time that the Department began to develop a research emphasis. The early research efforts of the faculty members were in the area of theoretical high energy physics, and later (in the mid to late 70s), efforts were made to develop research programs in experimental magnetic resonance (NMR & EPR). About this time, the Department began to seriously consider the prospect of developing research strengths in interdisciplinary areas, such as Biophysics, partly to leverage the proximity of the Department to the IU School of Medicine. The focus on Biophysics was, at the time, unusual and now in hindsight providential, since the Department over the years has developed a national and international reputation for its excellence in this important area. Today, when every physics department in the country is rushing to add Biophysics to its portfolio of research specialties, the IUPUI Physics Department has compiled a thirty-year record! Read more.

The School of Science

At the IUPUI School of Science, we pride ourselves on our interdisciplinary approach, extensive undergraduate research opportunities, professional school placements, and service to our students. An education from the School of Science pays off: our students go on to top graduate programs, medical schools, and careers in academia, research, and the private sector.

The School of Science at IUPUI offers a strong foundation in the modern life sciences, while our students reap the benefits of IUPUI's location and research diversity. With nearly half of IUPUI's 2009 class of freshmen science majors heralding from the top ten percent of their high school class, our students, from undergraduate to postdoctoral candidates, have much to offer the IUPUI campus and Indianapolis community.


Situated in the heart of Indianapolis, IUPUI is an urban research and life and health sciences institution near five hospitals and the Indiana University schools of medicine, dentistry and nursing. IUPUI's mission is to advance the State of Indiana and the intellectual growth of its citizens to the highest levels nationally and internationally through research and creative activity, teaching and learning, and civic engagement.

Physics grad looks toward a sustainable future

Gabriel Grant 2004 Alumnus, Ph.D. Student Industrial Environmental Management, Yale