You are here:

Current Grads

Prospective Grads

 Graduate Studies in Physics + Astronomy at University of Utah

A student undertakes graduate study in physics to accomplish several goals: first, to develop a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the field as a whole; second, to acquire a deep and thorough understanding of some specialized field; to contribute to the body of knowledge of that field through their own research; and finally, to prepare the foundation for a rewarding career in physics, astronomy, or one of the many diverse fields of industry and finance to which physicists contribute. 

We offer a number of options to achieve these goals. Most of our students seek a Ph.D. in Physics. While we do award a Master's degree,  we admit students into our M.S. program under special circumstances that require arrangment prior to application and admission. The role of the Master's in Physics is to provide either a milestone or an alternative to the Ph.D. for predoctoral students. The M.S. degree in the Department of Physics and Astronomy requires a thesis or non-thesis degree and provides comprehensive course and research experience. 

Your choice of research specialization can define your career. We offer a wide range of subject areas, including Astronomy Astrophysics, Atomic physics, Biophysics, Chemical Physics, Condensed Matter, High-energy/Particle Physics, and Physics Education Research (PER). In addition, some of us work in multidisciplinary specializations, for example, nano-science and medical physics. A current list of our specializations, with links to the names faculty working in those areas is here.

It is typical for your tuition to be covered under the University's Tuition Benefits Program, which is available to you if you serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or work as a Research Assistant (RA) for your thesis advisor. While there are time limitations, you will find that the benefits, including health insurance, offered by the University enable you to keep focused on progressing toward your degree, while providing allowance for day-to-day expenses.

Most graduate students in pursuit of a PhD are supported financially throughout their graduate career via a combination of teaching assistant-ships, research assistant-ships, and fellowships. Our admissions standards are high, so the competition is rigorous for limited number of open positions within the program. Admission is based on an evaluation of an applicant's academic profile, research potential, and other valuable qualities such as perseverance and effective communication.

The handbook contains information on the graduate experience in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. We cover the rules—namely degree requirements such as  which courses to take, what exams you'll need to pass, as well as policy regarding teaching assistant-ships (TA), the all-important rules of tuition benefits, and even a little about life as a graduate student. We start you off with this link, it points to the Graduate School, the ultimate authority on policy concerning all of the University of Utah's graduate programs. Please peruse it for the wealth it contains! We hope that it helps make your graduate experience here in our own Department rich and rewarding!

Applications for Fall 2020 are closed. Students preparing an application for Fall 2021 should note that the GRE is not required and scores will not be considered during application review. The Admission Committee will take into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on grades including N/NP, C/NC, and withdrawals. See full application details in How to Apply.

For more information, contact:

Director of Graduate Studies
(DoGS)

Zheng Zheng
zheng@astro.utah.edu 
(801) 585-5973

Graduate Program Coordinator

Bryce Nelson
bryce@physics.utah.edu

Last Updated: 6/27/20