Join the Utah Physics & Astronomy Community!
We are pleased to accept applications for the graduate student class of 2024! Physicists and Astronomers join our department because of the collaborative opportunities, research labs, academic reputation, and beautiful surroundings - among other benefits. The components of the application are listed below, but please review all the information on this and related pages (provided in the sidebar). We have tried to provide answers to as many questions as possible about our department, the graduate program, and most importantly, what we are trying to learn from your application. Note: At this time, official English proficiency scores are required as part of the international application packet.
- Online application, where you will submit the following documents (except letters of recommendation)
- Unofficial transcripts
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Personal statement
- 3-5 letters of recommendation
- English language proficiency score (Int’l only, must be official)
Your application materials will be evaluated along several dimensions, described in detail on this page. Prepare your CV and personal statement with these criteria in mind, explicitly addressing how you demonstrate the qualities we are looking for in our graduate students. To the extent possible, ask your letter writers to speak to these qualities as well. Advice for creating a strong application can be found on that page as well. For detailed guidance on how to complete your application, including the personal statement and CV, see our detailed instructions on this page. No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, from the general or physics subject tests, will be accepted or considered; please do not provide them anywhere in your application.
The online application, including uploads of all supporting documents through that portal, must be submitted by January 2nd, 2024 for your application to be considered. Names and emails of your recommendation letter writers are part of that submission, and they will be emailed with requests for letters at that time if not before (you may have the option of sending the letter requests before your application is submitted). Recommendation letters are due by January 9th, 2024. While this deadline is less absolute than the online application submission deadline, applications lacking the minimum number of letters at the time of holistic review will no longer be considered.
Our Ph.D. candidates take classes, serve as teaching assistants (TAs), and conduct original research. We do not generally offer a Master’s-only program (you will earn a Master’s degree as part of your Ph.D.). In your first semester, you will TA and take the core courses, the final exams of which constitute the Comprehensive Exam that must be passed to continue on in the program. Coursework typically continues through your second year, focused on topics related to your research area. An oral Qualifying Exam takes place by the end of your fifth semester, where you will present a talk on a research topic, placing it in context and typically describing a project you have been working on. Your Ph.D. is complete after the successful defense of your dissertation, ideally in your fifth or sixth year in the program.
Prior to joining the program, admitted students must have received a bachelor's degree from an accredited institute, college, or university. Although no single field of undergraduate specialization is required, applicants to the Physics Ph.D. program must have a thorough undergraduate background in the sciences and are expected to have mastered basic material in physics and mathematics (calculus through differential equations). In addition, a background in astronomy, biology, or chemistry may be needed in preparation for the focus of the intended graduate studies.
For interested students without the necessary background to succeed in our core courses, and/or coming from non-traditional circumstances, we offer a 1-year post-baccalaureate fellowship program designed to prepare such students and to provide a pipeline into our graduate program.
International applicants may need to meet University requirements for English language proficiency. For more information relevant to international students, see this link.
Commitment to Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity
The University of Utah is fully committed to policies of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity, and vigorously pursues affirmative action in all programs, activities, and employment with regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, and status as a handicapped individual.
Religion, sexual orientation, and status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era also are protected under nondiscrimination and equal opportunity employment policies. Evidence of practices not consistent with this policy should be reported to the Office of the President of the University, 801-581-8365. Any false or misleading information provided in the support of this application may result in dismissal from the Graduate School.