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How to Apply

The application for the 2023 - 2024 school year is closed. Please check your email for a decision announcement. Application requirements for the 24-25 school year will post in August 2023.

Read the requirements, FAQ, and related links before sending questions to the department. 

Application Requirements

The Department of Physics & Astronomy requires all Ph.D. applicants to submit all application materials, including transcripts, online through the ApplyYourself system. Following is a list of material that needs to be completed and submitted through ApplyYourself  by the January 15 deadline.

Completed  Ph.D. Application: Read the ApplyYourself application carefully. Omitted information can delay the processing of your application. Please select the Physics Ph.D. on the appropriate line of your application and pick your subfield or subfields of interest. Use the application-fee waiver code UUPANDA to apply for free.

Letters of Recommendation: The Physics & Astronomy Department will review 3-5 letters of recommendation from instructors, research supervisors, or employers who are familiar with your abilities and performance. The reference should use Recommendation Form #1 in ApplyYourself.

CV/Résumé: Do not include pictures. Abstracts or research papers may be included as a supplement along with a brief preface explaining your specific contribution to the research. The CV should be uploaded in the curriculum vitae/resume section of ApplyYourself.

Personal Statement (PDF of 1 essay and 1 table):
i) Write one (1) brief essay addressing the following in 500 words or less:

  • something about physics or astronomy that you find exciting


  • how your goals for graduate school match the opportunities offered by the research programs in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

ii) Provide a table listing relevant physics and mathematics courses that you have taken in your previous studies that have prepared you for graduate studies in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah. Please list, for each course, the title, your grade, and the name of the institution. In the table, list separately lower division undergraduate courses, upper division and/or graduate level general physics courses; and upper division and/or graduate level specialized courses (e.g. condensed matter physics, high energy physics, biophysics, etc).

No GRE Scores: Neither the General GRE nor the Physics GRE are required. The GRE section of the Apply Yourself application is only optional and any submitted scores will not be considered in the evaluation.

For International Applicants Only: An official report of scores from: International English Language Testing System, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or Duolingo are mandatory as part of the application. All test dates must be within two years of admission for scores to be valid. Read the full list of requirements and exceptions from Admissions. Any questions related to English proficiency requirements should be directed to the Admission office, not the department.

Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts are acceptable to complete the admissions application and can be scanned or e-mailed directly to For foreign institutions, include transcripts in the original language and official English translations if the original language is not English.  A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for admission without a petition. The Admission Committee will take into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on grades including N/NP, C/NC, and withdrawals. Applicants should use the allotted space in ApplyYourself to address letter grades below B.

Interview: Applicants may be asked to participate in a brief interview with a small panel of faculty and staff. The interview acts as a supplement to the personal statement and no planning or practice is required.

Financial Assistance: Note any grants or fellowships you've been awarded for graduate studies. The Department of Physics and Astronomy intends to be able to provide research or teaching assistantships for all qualifying Ph.D. students. During the first 10 semesters of Ph.D. study, The University of Utah Graduate School or the Department of Physics and Astronomy will cover tuition and student health insurance premiums for semesters when a graduate student receives one of these assistantships. The graduate stipend in P&A is currently $30,000 for a full academic year of employment (fall, spring, & summer). All Ph.D. applicants can apply for free: Use the application-fee waiver code UUPANDA.


For more information about the program, requirements, tuition benefits, etc., see our Graduate Handbook.

Holistic Evaluation

No one application criterion is deemed to be more critical than another. All applications are evaluated for: program specific preparation, academic performance, research potential, persistence and determination, long term goals, scholarly engagement, leadership/community involvement, and communication skills. It’s important to convey how this particular program will aid in achieving your research goals. Because we use a holistic approach, we do not share details such as the average TOEFL score for the prior year, nor do we provide a preliminary evaluation of applications. If you meet the published requirements and submit by the deadline, your application will be evaluated for admissibility. We hope that the application fee waiver code will eliminate concerns about whether you should apply!

Application review begins January 16, 2023 and continues through February 2023. Applicants are kindly asked to refrain from making inquiries about their status prior to March 15. Incomplete or late applications are not considered. The recommendations of the Admissions Committee are sent to the Graduate Admissions Office of the University of Utah. The formal decision on admission is made by the University's Graduate Admissions Office, which will then notify you directly of its decision. Please note that on rare occasions the Graduate Admissions Office may decide against the recommendation of the Physics & Astronomy Department; consequently the letter from the Physics & Astronomy Department does not constitute formal acceptance.

Upon admission, ALL official transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope to:

Office of Admissions
The University of Utah
201 South 1460 East, Room 250s
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

or via approved Electronic Transcript Services:

Official TOEFL scores can be sent through ETS using the following codes:
TOEFL inst. 4853 - dept. 76 (under "Physical Sciences")

TOEFL is only one of a few ways to show English proficiency. See the entire list here: 

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.