A unique program unparalleled by programs at other universities, the Department of in Applied Physics addresses a broad range of fields from science to engineering from a foundation of physics. As a discipline, physics seeks to identify nature's basic principles. Applied physics strives to train human resources capable of creating revolutionary new technologies by using physics to carve out new futures. Simply maintaining existing technologies is insufficient to solve the various problems faced by today's rapidly changing, diversifying society. Original technologies are born from free thinking unbound by conventional wisdom and from the theoretical development of such ideas. New technologies can serve as the driving force behind advances in basic research. This is the true spirit of engineering, found in applying scientific results to engineering and reviewing basic principles through real-world problems. In this way, this undergraduate program probably can be said to be the quintessential program in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. In the over 60 years since its founding, while the program has repeatedly revised its curriculum and the nature of its research, research facilities, and other aspects to remain ahead of the times, its underlying spirit remains unchanged.
In the graduate program, students can choose from an even broader range of fields of study by advancing to the Department of Pure and Applied Physics run jointly with the Department of Physics.
In 2003, the Department of Applied Physics at Waseda was the only private-university program to be chosen to participate in the 21st Century COE Program (in the discipline of physics) intended to develop world-leading research and education facilities. This program was completed in 2008. The results of this program are well regarded and have led to the publication of more than 700 papers in journals such as Science and Nature. In addition, the program attracts a steady stream of outside funding, including grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), among others. The program has also continued to build advanced research facilities. The program has graduated large numbers of leading-edge researchers and other individuals active in the world of industry, including more than 150 current university professors and 50 associate professors. A number of its research results have seen practical use, including the world's first Future Cast® System, implemented at the Expo 2005 world exposition in Aichi, and a film, “Grand Odyssey”s, created using this system. These have been installed at the Huis Ten Bosch resort in Nagasaki, where they remain highly popular attractions. In this way, the basic and applied capabilities learned in the Department of Applied Physics demonstrate their true power as the foundations for various research and industrial fields.
Each year, around 80% of those graduating from the undergraduate program go on to graduate school. Approximately 20% of those completing the master's degree program advance to the doctoral program. Most graduates are active researchers at businesses, national public research institutes, universities, and elsewhere. In the 2007 academic year, 16 doctoral degrees were awarded. The programs welcome students whose ultimate goal is to work as researchers, as well as those who wish to apply basic physical principles in the world of commerce. These programs offer the flexibility needed to adapt to any student's vision of the future.