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Awards, Scholarships & Financial Aid

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Declared physics majors are eligible for scholarships offered by the Department of Physics, in addition to scholarships administered by the college and university. The principal ongoing scholarships are the Paul Rood Scholarship, named after Dr. Paul Rood, professor and chair of the Department of Physics at WMU from 1916 to 1964, and the Nathan L. Nichols Physics Scholarship, named after Dr. Nathan Nichols, professor of physics at WMU from 1955 to 1980. These two scholarships have similar award amounts and requirements, so they are administered together. Applications for these scholarships may be submitted using the online form. These scholarships are based on academic performance, in physics coursework as well as overall. An applicant must be a declared physics major and have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. The awards are given in the fall and spring semesters. The deadline to apply for the scholarships is March 1.  Students who have received a scholarship may reapply each year, providing they continue to meet the eligibility requirements.


The Department of Physics has three ways to honor its most outstanding graduating physics majors. Each department at WMU selects one major per year as their Presidential Scholar. The recipients are recognized at a dinner hosted by the President of Western Michigan University and the President of the Faculty Senate. There is no application process for this honor. The second award is the Charles J. Wilcox Memorial Award, made possible by the family and friends of a former physics graduate student. This modest monetary award is presented to an outstanding graduating physics major every year. The third award is the Haym Kruglak Student Teaching Excellence Award, established by a generous gift from Dr. Haym Kruglak, professor of physics from 1954 to 1977. This monetary award is presented to a secondary education physics major who has demonstrated outstanding effort and accomplishments during the school year for practice teaching.

Physics Course Awards

The Department of Physics offers a modest reward to the top student in each section of the introductory courses every fall and spring semester. The award consists of a popular science book, and is presented late in the Spring semester. Courses in which this award is made are: 1000, 1010, 1020, 1040, 1060, 1070, 1130, 1150, 2050, 2070, and 3090. It is not necessary to be a physics major to be eligible for this award.

Arts and Sciences International Study Scholarships

The College of Arts and Sciences invites qualified undergraduates to apply for funds to help support their study abroad experience. See the College of Arts and Sciences' website for an application and more information.

Phi Beta Kappa

Undergraduates in the College of  Arts and Sciences should also be aware that WMU shelters a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. Outstanding students in any liberal arts field (including physics) may be selected for membership in this society based on their overall academic performance through seven semesters, their good character, and evidence of abilities beyond their particular specialty.  See here for more information on Phi Beta Kappa.