Department of Physics

The Department of Physics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) welcomes you!

The department has 25 tenure track and tenured faculty members and several lecturers, post-doctoral scholars, research and visiting faculty members actively engaged in research in the areas of Applied Optics, Biophysics, Computational Physics, Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Nanotechnology, Optical Astronomy, Physics Education, Radio Astronomy and Relativistic Astrophysics. 

Besides excellence in research and teaching, the department places special emphasis on early involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in research. Several opportunities for generous financial support are provided to deserving students at all levels. Integration of research and education at all stages is one of the strengths of the department. The department lays emphasis on high quality teaching and student mentoring.

The department has a strong, well-funded research program. The department faculty members have close research collaborations with scientists across the globe. 

To facilitate such cooperation and collaboration, an interdisciplinary research center - Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy (CGWA) - has been formed in 2003 that has been supported by NSF, NASA,and DoD grants of over $30 million. On September 14, 2015, the first gravitational waves were detected by the Laser Interferometric Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors. Detection of gravitational waves opens a new window to our universe. The department of physics at UTRGV has the largest group of gravitational-wave researchers in Texas and is one of the largest in the United States involved in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration global research effort. Its scientists and student researchers are key contributors to the first direct detection of gravitational waves. 

In 2011, a second research center, the Center for Radio Astronomy (CARA), has been formed with funds from DoD and NSF. CARA has received over $5 million in external funding. The Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Giga-hertz Astrophysical Transient Emission (STARGATE) complex is a public-private partnership between the CARA and SpaceX. STARGATE is a space exploration based technology park that combines higher education, research, economic development, and commercialization. STARGATE resources will give students and faculty unprecedented opportunities for near and deep space exploration research and technology development. STARGATE has been funded by the UT System, state of Texas and Brownsville Economic Development Board for over $15 million.

The department offers Bachelor's (B.S.) and Master's (M.S.) programs in Physics. In addition, a cooperative Ph. D in physics program is also offered with the University of Texas at Arlington. Under this program, students enrolled in the UT Arlington Cooperative PhD Physics program have the option to reside at Brownsville/Edinburg and conduct their research under the direction of a graduate faculty member of the UTRGV Physics department. All requirements for the program including graduation requirements are the same as those established for the UTA PhD Physics program.

At Brownsville (east campus), the Physics department is spread across the Science, Engineering, Technology Building (SETB), Cavalry Building, Rusteberg Building and the Life and Health Sciences buildings. At Edinburg (west campus), the department is spread across the Physical Sciences and and the new Science buildings. A planetarium is housed on the west campus. There are several cutting edge laboratories in the department - Applied Optics and Lasers, Nanotechnology, Biophysics, Arecibo Remote Command Center (Radio Astronomy), Gravitational Wave Creep Experiment, Optical Observatory and Computation facilities. 

The department abounds with opportunities! You are invited to browse our web site for more information.