Physics and Astronomy

Physics probes fundamental questions and also serves as a source of key innovations in high technology. At VMI a dedicated faculty train and work with talented students to explore exciting areas of physics and astronomy like…

  • Lasers and Fiber Optics
  • Laser Spectroscopy
  • Observational Astronomy
  • Thin Films and Nanotechnology
  • Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Nuclear Physics

A bachelor’s degree in physics is the gateway to a wide variety of technical careers as well as graduate and professional school opportunities.  

  • Technical careers in the military, nuclear energy, medical physics, and other areas
  • Careers in secondary education (teaching high school physics)
  • Graduate study in physics, astrophysics, nuclear engineering, and other related disciplines
  • Professional school in medicine and law

Degrees and Programs

Major(s): Physics

Degree(s): Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


The physics curriculum is a flexible curriculum that provides an excellent opportunity for the development of intellectual breadth while also building strong scientific and technical skills.

Our degree programs offer a generous complement of electives, allowing cadets to obtain one or more minors or even to double major in selected cases.  We also offer minors in both physics and astronomy for cadets interested in complementing their major with significant training in physics and astronomy.

Physics & Astronomy in the News

Find out more about the department's cadets and faculty in recent VMI news.

Photo of VMI cadets posing in front of conference at the 2021 SoCon Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).

“SURFers” Share Research Projects

Maj. Sarah Patterson and Maj. Blain Patterson from the Department of Applied Mathematics had the privilege of accompanying 11 cadets as they presented their research on a variety of topics, ranging from identifying glycans with neural networks to women in counterterrorism.

Photo courtesy of Roanoke College Office of Communications and Marketing

TAPS—Col. D. Rae Carpenter Jr.

Col. D. Rae Carpenter Jr., former head of the physics department at VMI, passed away on May 26 at Kendal of Lexington at the age of 92.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders