Physics Graduate Programs

The Department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics. During the first two years of the program, students complete a track of core courses (including Mathematical Physics, Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Mechanics). 

The M.S. program can be completed through the combination of completing the core coursework and a research thesis, or completing the core coursework and passing a Comprehensive Examination. 

In addition to their coursework, Ph.D. students also gain research experiences during their first two years.  In subsequent years, Ph.D. students specialize within a chosen subdiscipline for their research training, which culminates in their dissertation.

Graduate degrees offered

Assistantships and financial support

All accepted first-year students are offered an assistantship that includes a stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance. For most students, the assistantship is in the form of a Teaching Assistantship in the first years of the program, after which most students move into Research Assistantships.

For generalized assistantship information, see the Graduate School's Graduate Assistantships page. More information for Physics assistantships is available at the Physics Graduate Assistantship page.

Program requirements

Refer to Physics Graduate Admissions for instructions on how to submit an application, for a summary of the rubric used during our admissions process, for topics to discuss in your personal statements, and for instructions on how to request an application fee waiver.

In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, the requirements for admission to graduate standing in Physics are:

  • A bachelor's degree from an institution offering an approved major in Physics (as defined by the American Institute of Physics).
  • Completion of regular junior-senior courses in mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics and modern physics.
  • An average grade of 3.0 or better in all physics and mathematics courses, and an overall average of 3.0 or better in all undergraduate courses (2.75 for M.S.).
  • International students from non-English speaking institutions are required to demonstrate a minimum score on one of the following:
    • 7.5 IELTS/speaking
    • or 24 TOEFL/speaking
    • or 120 on Duolingo

Applicants whose records indicate a deficiency in any of the requirements listed above may be admitted on a probationary basis and be required to take certain undergraduate courses (which do not carry graduate credit).