The MIT Department of Physics has over 120 faculty members, is often cited as the largest physics department in the United States, and hosts top-ranked programs. It offers the SB, SM, PhD, and ScD degrees. Thirteen alumni of the department and nine current or former faculty members (two of whom were also students at MIT) have won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
There are two paths to earning a bachelor's degree (SB) in physics from MIT. The first, "Course 8 Focused Option", is for students intending to continue studying physics in graduate school. The track offers a rigorous education in various fields in fundamental physics including classical and quantum mechanics, statistical physics, general relativity, electrodynamics, and higher mathematics.
The second, "Course 8 Flexible Option" is designed for those students who would like to develop a strong background in physics but who would like to branch off into other research directions or more unconventional career paths, such as information theory, computer science, finance, and biophysics. A significant part of the student's third and fourth undergraduate years are left open for relevant electives and graduate classes, which then form a specialization. Both tracks have a strong emphasis on laboratory instruction, with the third year often reserved for two "Junior Lab" courses. Most students partaking in undergraduate research or a research-oriented internship.
The department offers doctoral degrees in the following divisions: astrophysics, atomic and optical physics, biophysics, experimental condensed matter physics, theoretical condensed matter physics, experimental nuclear/particle physics, theoretical nuclear/particle physics, plasma physics, and quantum computing.
The department is divided into four main research areas, namely a) astrophysics, b) atomic, biophysics, condensed matter, and plasma physics, c) experimental nuclear and particle physics, and d) theoretical nuclear and particle physics. A large amount of research is conducted the department's 17 affiliated labs and centers, a list which includes the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, the Center for Theoretical Physics, the Condensed Matter Theory Group, the MIT–Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms, and LIGO.
The Nobel laureates in the faculty are:
See also MIT Department of Physics Alumni for a larger list
Other major physics discoveries
Breakthrough Prizes in Fundamental Physics