UW-River Falls a Top Producer of Physics Graduates

October 28, 2014— The American Physical Society (APS) recently identified the University of Wisconsin-River Falls as one of the top ten producers of undergraduate degrees in physics among bachelor's degree institutions. According to the APS, UW-River Falls granted an average of 19 undergraduate degrees in physics per year between 2010-12, tying UWRF for seventh with American University and Bethel University.  

"Students can tell from their visit to UWRF that we have committed, caring staff who enjoy what they do," said Jim Madsen, chair and professor of physics at UW-River Falls.  "We provide a challenging, supportive environment that leads to success at UWRF and beyond. The skills and habits students develop are recognized by employers whether the next step is industry, the classroom, or exploring the universe." 

All degree data used by APS to compile their rankings are representative of the most recent three years of available data. Degree data is collected from the IPEDS Completion Survey by Race. IPEDS data is collected from every institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. 

"I think students continue to choose the physics program at UW-River Falls because of its reputation for exceptional teaching, advising and undergraduate research," said Sarah Egerstrom, director of Admissions and New Student Programs at UWRF. "We have expert faculty who are eager to engage our students in meaningful learning opportunities. With that said, our graduates are well-prepared for pursuing graduate school or employment upon graduation." 

Earlier this year, the UWRF Physics Department received two grants from the National Science Foundation linked to the IceCube telescope, a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless subatomic particle called the neutrino. One of the grants will provide 18 ten-week research experiences for undergraduates. Students will participate in a one-week science and software "boot camp" prior to participating in an internship at leading institutions in particle astrophysics in Belgium, Germany, or Sweden. 

The American Physical Society is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. 

The full APS degree rankings are available at

UWRF laser

Photo:  UWRF student Angela Ludvigsen makes adjustments to a project in the physics lab. As a physics and mathematics major, she is conducting research on individual water droplets using Optical Tweezers. A highly focused argon laser beam is directed into a chamber containing fog where the laser is able to catch and suspend an aerosol droplet inside the beam. The light emitted and movement is then recorded. She hopes her research will contribute towards a collective knowledge about global warming and ways to slow the warming.

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