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The mission of the Institute for Physical Science and Technology (IPST) is to pursue interdisciplinary research and education at the University of Maryland. The Institute provides support for theoretical and experimental research in areas at the intersection of traditional disciplines. Current research interests are in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Biophysics, Chaotic Dynamics, Chemical Physics, Optical Physics, Space Physics, Scientific Computation, and Statistical Physics. Several of the Distinguished University Professors on campus hold appointments in IPST and several of the faculty are members of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering.

There are over three dozen faculty members in IPST, most of whom hold joint appointments with academic units in the College of Computer, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences, and Engineering. The Institute is also home to most of the University interdisciplinary graduate programs. The Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation, Biophysics, and Chemical Physics Graduate Degree Programs supported by the Institute offer M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and faculty supervision for graduate students in these and other programs.