Why Iowa?

  • The University of Iowa is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • The 2006 Fiske Guide to Colleges lists The University of Iowa as one of the best educational buys, and says Physics and Astronomy is one of The University of Iowa's strongest programs.
  • The department offers a number of flexible degree options to accommodate your specific interests and to help you meet your goals.
  • The department has a small-college, family atmosphere.
  • Classes have a high ratio of teachers to students.
  • The faculty includes leading researchers in more than 10 sub-fields of physics
  • The University of Iowa is the home of Professor James A. Van Allen led the first scientific discovery of the space age when he identified the radiation belts surrounding the earth. 
  • Our department has helped build instruments for numerous space missions (full list). Historical information on space physics research can be found here.
  • Iowa physicists helped with key discovery involving Higgs boson
  • The department has a lounge where students can gather to do homework together.
  • A physics help center is staffed by graduate students for homework help.
  • Iowa CREATES (Center for Research, Exploration, and Advanced Technology in Engineering and Sciences) has most modern, sophisticated equipment that faculty and staff in the physical sciences and engineering need to conduct cutting-edge research.

The Physics and Astronomy Department offers the best of both worlds for undergraduates. During the first few years, there are small introductory courses designed for incoming physics and astronomy majors and as students move through the program, there are opportunities to take upper-level specialty courses on topics like nuclear physics, astrophysics, optics, and advanced laboratory subjects. Nearly all undergraduates get involved with faculty research during the academic year. These experiences can be really productive; many students from our program publish papers in journals by the time they graduate.  Students cab also do summer research internships at places like Fermi National Accelerator Lab, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and NASA.