Physics Innovation & Entrepreneurship Education

The majority of physics graduates at all degree levels will become scientists and innovators working in the private sector, yet very little of the knowledge they gain while earning their degree intentionally prepares them for these roles. APS joins in on nationwide efforts to promote physics innovation and entrepreneurship (PIE) education.

Sign Up for PIE News button

Pop-Up Classes: Physics Learning Above & Beyond "The Usual"

These courses allow the development of hands-on technical proficiencies, career skills, and other competencies in a fun, low pressure environment.

Gray Arrow View webinar recording and slides

The PIPELINE Network

PIPELINEThe PIPELINE Network* joins the efforts of six institutions engaged in PIE implementation to build and disseminate best practices practices and develop tools to measure the effects of implementation on departments.

Gray Arrow The PIPELINE Network

*Support for this work is provided by the National Science Foundation's IUSE program under Award No. 1624882


Materials To Help You Teach PIE

Curricular materials, tools, and best practices

Project Ideas from the Garage Physics Program
Hands on lab projects that connect physics concepts with real world applications, from Duncan Carlsmith of the University of Wisconsin’s Garage Physics program.

Framework for “Pop-Up” Classes
A general framework for planning and executing a “pop-up” class at your institution.

Teaching Resources from VentureWell
A blog focused on teaching innovation and entrepreneurship from VentureWell, a higher education network dedicated to advancing I&E within the sciences (see below for more information).

Carthage College Scienceworks Program
Information about the nation’s first and most established undergraduate technology entrepreneurship and career preparation program.

Case Western Physics Entrepreneurship (PEP) Program
An overview of curriculum for the award-winning MS in Physics Entrepreneurship track at Case Western.

Kettering University Applied Physics Program
An overview of this innovative program which utilizes a co-op and experiential learning model to provide a foundation for technical careers.

Tools to Help You Promote PIE At Your Institution

Presentations and Talks

Start with Why videoicon, by Simon Sinek (TED Talk)
This talk gives advice for effective, persuasive advocacy.

Tinker, Thinker, Maker, and CEO: Reimagining the physics student as Engineer, Inventor, and Entrepreneur format_pdf, Crystal Bailey, APS March 2016 Meeting.
This presentation provides a context for PIE against the current employment landscape of physics graduates, and directly addresses common questions/concerns raised against PIE.

Introducing a Introducing a Framework for Physics Innovation and Entrepreneurship (PIE) Education format_pdf, Bahram Roughani, APS March 2016 Meeting.
This talk provides a framework for successful adoption of curricular and co-curricular PIE activities, and a perspective on change management around the adoption of PIE practices.


Things your advisor never told you: Entrepreneurship’s role in physics education, Douglas Arion, Physics Today, August 2013.

Statistical Data and Reports

SPIN-UP Report
A report detailing strategies of departments which had much higher retention levels of physics majors during a period of historic decline in physics enrollments. One report recommendation is to incorporate career-focused practices in physics programs.
Gray Arrow SPIN-UP Executive Summary format_pdf
Gray Arrow SPIN-UP Analysis and Recommendations format_pdf

Common Careers of Physicists in the Private Sector format_pdf
A report by the AIP Statistical Research Center which provides an insight into activities and attitudes of physics PhDs working in the private sector.

Focus on Physics Bachelor’s Initial Employment format_pdf
A report by the AIP Statistical Research Center which describes the most common career trajectories of physicists entering the workforce with a terminal Bachelor’s degree. Includes information on job satisfaction for graduates in each sector, as well as primary skills and knowledge used in private sector roles.

Startup Stories

PIE Conferences and Sessions

Reinventing the Physicist: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education for the 21st Century. American Center for Physics, June 2014.

Sessions I and X, Beyond the First Year of College Conference format_pdf, July 2015.

Building New Pathways in Physics Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Session R53, APS March Meeting 2016.

Educating for I&E in Physics, Venturewell Open 2017 Conference, March 2017.

Related Resources


VentureWellVentureWell is a higher education network which enables powerful approaches to stimulating science and technology invention, innovation and entrepreneurship on university and college campuses, and move the strongest ideas rapidly forward to commercialization. Their E-Team program provides funding, immersive workshops, and specialized coaching to student STEM innovators to help them move their inventions into the marketplace (up to $25K grants are available).

Gray Arrow Learn more about VentureWell E-Team Grants

VentureWell works across disciplines to promote innovation and entrepreneurship through grants, competitions, and programs like the Pathways to Innovation, a program similar to PIPELINE focused on the engineering discipline.

Gray Arrow Learn more about VentureWell’s Pathways to Innovation Program

Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs

JTUPPJ-TUPP is a joint task force convened by the APS and AAPT and is charged with preparing a report which will provide guidance for physicists considering revising the undergraduate curriculum to improve the education of a diverse student population. In particular, the report seeks to address what skills and knowledge will best prepare the next generation of physics degree holders for diverse careers.

The final report from J-TUPP will be made available in Fall 2016. It is expected that the recommendations of the report will support widespread adoption of PIE practices within physics departments.

Gray Arrow Learn more about the Joint Task Force on Undergraduate Physics Programs