Topics of current interest include physics education research and curriculum development, nanopower systems, thin films, magnetic materials, complex fluids, granular materials, astrophysics, observational astronomy, and computational optics. The Department maintains an observatory on campus that is used for astronomy courses, public outreach, and research.
The large number of faculty means students have an unusually large number of research groups from which to choose. Ongoing projects in both experimental and theoretical physics are carried out by undergraduates, often under the one-on-one supervision of a faculty advisor. Upper-level students can take advantage of RIT's cooperative-work program to work for up to six months, full-time and uninterrupted, on a research project. This allows students to learn a lot about the project as well as make significant contributions to the work. This may be one reason why a large number of RIT physics majors continue on in graduate school.