College Factual has named Rensselaer among the “Top 10 Best Physics Schools in the Country.” The list includes California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton University.

According to College Factual, “physics majors from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute get an earnings boost of about 7.9 percent above the typical income of physics graduates.”

Vincent Meunier, head of the Rensselaer Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, said the success of the program is rooted in its emphasis on a unique combination of fundamental and applied training that prepares students for graduate school or a professional career. Common class requirements are complemented by an array of elective courses organized by the department to prepare students for the requirements of the workforce.

“In particular, for those students who do not plan to go to graduate school, we place a significant emphasis on applied and computational physics by leaning on our own class offering and on an array of opportunities offered in other departments at Rensselaer,” said Meunier. “As a result, we train students with agility in a number of engineering, data-science, and computational science fields alike, on top of a rigorous physics training where students are taught to think critically and creatively to formulate and solve problems.”

The Rensselaer Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy conducts both fundamental and applied research, often in collaboration with researchers from other Rensselaer departments, universities, industry, and the national laboratories. The department has received several national awards, including the Boeing Outstanding Educator Award, Pew Leadership Award, and Hesburgh Award.