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Our Department

Applied Physical Sciences lives in the collaborative space between science and engineering, combining knowledge and discovery with an engineering mindset, team-based science, and entrepreneurship to address real-world problems. Organized around “Ideas to Impacts,” the Department unites with campus themes in health, water and energy to help Carolina continue to be a leader in science innovation and the application of knowledge.

New faculty hired into Applied Physical Sciences join an extensive interdisciplinary environment including a number of applied scientists in other departments who have been instrumental in the formation of the Department. Affiliated faculty have utilized nanotechnology to target drug treatments for cancer and for cystic fibrosis, among other diseases. They have developed improved “lab on a chip” technologies to develop new devices for clinical diagnostics and for environmental monitoring. And they are working across many fronts to make solar energy more economical.

Students in lab
As the Department continues to expand, we will address some of the great “What if?” questions of our era, using new advanced materials for applications that enhance health, improve water quality and sustainability, and make the scientific and technological advances that will be central to our energy future.

Drawing on the talents of faculty and researchers across the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, one of the highest rated educational institutions in the country, as well as those of individuals at other universities and research institutions in the Triangle, the Department of Applied Physical Sciences is on the cutting edge of the research and development, creating materials, methodologies, and solutions that will have worldwide impact for decades to come.

The Department of Applied Physical Sciences educates the next generation of groundbreaking and entrepreneurial scientists in its nationally ranked Material Sciences graduate program. The Department is extending this training to a new Applied Sciences and Engineering undergraduate minor (and a major in Fall 2022) that embraces and leverages the Carolina culture in the liberal arts and innovation.

The Department of Applied Physical Sciences believes that diversity is crucial to achieving academic excellence, and we are deeply committed to creating a diverse and inclusive community. We affirm UNC’s policy and commitment to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment that is free from discrimination on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Student holding lab material to light