Physics Graduate Admissions

Applications are submitted online through the Graduate School. Below is information specific to the Department of Physics.

Application cycles

Fall Semester

For full consideration, our initial application deadline is February 5, and our first round of decisions on admitted and waitlisted students will be made around March 1. Following the initial deadline, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.

Spring Semester

The application deadline is November 1. Decisions will be made around December 1.

Application fee

The application fee is $60 for U.S. citizens and resident aliens; $95 for international applicants.

Fee waivers

A limited number of application fee waivers are available each year. The deadline to request a fee waiver is December 15, and decisions are usually made in early January.

To request a fee waiver, fill out the Physics Graduate Program application fee waiver request form.

Note: Requesting a fee waiver is independent from submitting an application.  Regardless of whether you receive a fee waiver, you must still submit a formal application to the graduate school.  Receiving a waiver does not guarantee admission into our program.

Test requirements

  • General GRE: Not Required
  • Physics GRE: Not Required
  • English Proficiency: An IELTS, TOEFL, or Duolingo test is required for international students from non-English speaking institutions.

Department admissions rubric and personal statements

The Physics department takes a holistic approach to graduate admissions.  Some of the criteria that students are assessed against include:

  1. Academic Readiness
  2. Research and Academic Potential
  3. Personal and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Research Interests and Alignment with Program

In all areas your accomplishments will be assessed relative to your opportunities.  Your personal statement is therefore an important component of your application to convey your individual circumstances.

Below are some prompts to consider while writing your personal statements to address our admissions criteria.

  1. Describe your past research experiences. Some possible items to address include: What is your proudest accomplishment? What are the most enjoyable aspects of research for you? If you could perform your research again, are there items you would do differently?
  2. Describe your future research interests and how they align with opportunities at the University of Nevada, Reno. Which faculty members are you interested in working with? It is OK to list more than one topic or faculty member.
  3. Describe why you wish to pursue a graduate degree in Physics.
  4. Describe a time when you hit a professional or educational obstacle and how you overcame it.
  5. Describe experiences and activities that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  6. Describe academic and/or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership abilities, and that demonstrate how you have contributed back to your academic or personal community.
  7. Describe teaching or outreach experiences.
  8. If you feel you are lacking in any of the above, use the personal statement to explain why opportunities may not have been available to you.

Instructions for submitting an application for admission

  1. Complete the online Graduate School application for admission, found on the Graduate Admissions Page. Note that there are two types of application forms: one for U.S. citizens and resident aliens, and another for international applicants. Complete applications include:
    • Online Application
    • Academic Transcripts
    • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    • Personal Statement
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • English proficiency test scores for international students.
  2. Pay the application fee electronically. Your application cannot be considered until the fee is paid, unless you have received a fee waiver.
  3. Order transcripts from every college or university attended. The issuing institution must send the transcripts directly to the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in all physics and mathematics courses, and an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in all undergraduate courses are required for admission to graduate standing in the Physics Department for the Ph.D. program. A GPA of 2.75 is required for the M.S. program.
  4. International Applicants: Acceptance with financial support requires demonstration of English proficiency, with either a score of 7.5 or higher on the speaking portion of the IELTS exam, a score of 24 or higher on the speaking portion of the TOEFL exam, a 120 or higher on the Duolingo exam, or a degree from an English-speaking institution. The Educational Testing Service must send your score directly to the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School.

You may upload unofficial transcripts and language test scores on your initial application.  If accepted, you will be required to send official copies of all documents.