PhD Program

The Physics Department offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics with specializations in different subfields that reflect the forefront research activities of the department, including biological physics, condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, nanomedicine, nanophysics and network science.

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The program for the PhD degree consists of the required coursework, a qualifying examination, a preliminary research seminar, the completion of a dissertation based upon original research performed by the student, and a dissertation defense upon completion of the dissertation. Based on these measures, students are expected to obtain a graduate-level understanding of basic physics concepts and demonstrate the ability to formulate a research plan, orally communicate a research plan, and conduct and present independent research.

The PhD dissertation will be based on new and original research in one of the current theoretical or experimental research programs in the department, under direct supervision of an advisor from the Physics Department. Alternatively, the dissertation research can be in a recognized interdisciplinary field involving another research area of the University, under the direct supervision of a faculty member in that field. Another option is to work in an area of applied research in one of the industrial or high-technology laboratories associated with the department’s industrial PhD program. In that case, the direct supervisor is associated with the institution where the research is performed.

The Department of Physics offers a complete package of financial aid in the form of teaching assistantship positions, including a typical one-year stipend of as well as full tuition and health care coverage.


  • 90 percent of faculty in the physics PhD program have major grants to fund their research
  • The department publishes well over 100 papers annually
  • Approximately eighty graduate students are enrolled in the PhD degree program in physics
  • The Dept. of Physics offers a limited number of highly competitive fellowships to some physics PhD program applicants
  • Department institutes and centers include Electronic Materials Institute (eMRI), Center for Complex Network Research (CCNR) and Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Complex Systems (CIRCS). In addition, Physics faculty are an integral part of the Network Science Institute
  • The department is home to the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, a satellite location for the $13M Physics Frontier Center based at Rice University
  • Department faculty are leading members of the National Science Foundation’s newly established Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Interactions that will be based at MIT

Our graduates pursue careers within academia and beyond.

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Quid
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Capital One
  • Pocketgem
  • Houston Rockets
  • Infor
  • Reactive Innovations, LLC
  • Athena Health
  • Smoothies Technologies Inc.
  • Gamelan Labs Inc.
  • Boston University
  • Genedata
  • Institut Langrange de Paris
  • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • University of California, San Diego
  • King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
  • Instituto de Telecomunicacoes
  • Massachussets Institute of Technology
  • JDS Uniphse
  • Monash University
  • Ecole Normale Supzrieure, International Center for Fundamental Physics and its Interfaces, Paris, France
  • IBM TJ Watson Research Center

Application Materials

  • Application
  • Application fee – US $100
  • Unofficial transcripts for all institutions attended
    (Official transcripts required upon acceptance of admission offer)
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE General – recommended, but not required
  • Resume
  • Proof of English Proficiency for all applicants


Priority deadline for completed applications: December 1st

Rolling admissions until March 15th. Check with department to see if there is any availability.

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