Data on Graduate Education

These reports and graphics cover issues concerning graduate physics and astronomy education at degree granting universities in the U.S.  They provide current data and historic trends for enrollments and degree production, including student demographics, educational experiences and post degree plans.

Latest reports

Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2021

Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2021

Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2021

Roster of Physics Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2021

phd physics 2021

How Well Do Physics Bachelor’s Degree Recipients Perform on the MCAT and LSAT Exams?

LSAGS Harrassment Report

Exploring Harassment and Discrimination Experiences in Astronomy

Astro report

Roster of Astronomy Departments with Enrollment and Degree Data, 2020

Specific figures and tables on graduate education

Graduating Soon?

Graduating Soon?

Graduate School Support

Graduate School Support

phd physics 2021

Ages of Physics Degree Recipients, Classes of 2019 and 2020 Combined

Field of Graduate Study for Physics Bachelors One Year After Degree, Classes of 2019 & 2020 Combined

Field of Graduate Study for Physics Bachelors One Year After Degree, Classes of 2019 & 2020 Combined

Physics PhDs Granted by Subfield

Physics PhDs Granted by Subfield

Years of Graduate Study to Earn a Physics Doctorate

Years of Graduate Study to Earn a Physics Doctorate

phd physics 2021

Dissertation Research Method by Subfield of Dissertation

phd physics 2021

Exiting Physics Masters - 1 Year Later

phd physics 2021

Physics PhDs Conferred in the US, 1900 through 2019

phd physics 2021

Average Number of Physics PhDs Conferred (Classes of 2017-19) by Number of Doctoral-Granting US Physics Departments

The University of New Mexico

University of New Mexico

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PhD in Physics Requirements (as of Fall 2021)

To remain in good academic standing, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken for graduate credit after admission to a graduate degree program at the University of New Mexico.

1) Course Requirements

1a) core course requirements..

A grade of B- or above is required in each core course. In addition, a PhD student must demonstrate good performance in at least three of the five core courses by obtaining a B grade or above. A PhD student must maintain progress through the five mandatory core courses (466, 505, 511, 521, and 522) at the following minimal rate:

1b) Elective Course Requirements.

Four advanced graduate courses. All regular (three-hour) 300 or 400-level courses that are available for graduate credit* for P&A students and all regular (three-hour) 500-level courses are eligible as electives, except 406, 491/492, and courses taken to satisfy the core-course requirements for the Physics PhD**. Different courses taken as Advanced Topics in Optics (569) or Advanced Topics in Physics and Astronomy (581) count as different electives. The four advanced graduate courses must be listed as a standard grade mode and NOT on a credit/no credit basis . Additional electives taken to fulfill credit hours may be on a credit/no credit basis.

* To receive graduate credit for eligible 300 or 400 level courses, the course must have an asterisk (one) beside the course number as depicted in the UNM Catalog at link: http://catalog.unm.edu/catalogs/2017-2018/colleges/arts-sciences/physics-astronomy/index.html        Double check your transcript after the semester to be sure graduate credit was received, it should be automatically assigned as GR not UG.   NOTE:  a double asterisk is available for graduate credit except for graduate majors in the department

** Science, Engineering, and Mathematics courses that are available for graduate credit may be taken as electives, with permission of the Academic Advisor.

1c) Seminar Course Requirements.

1d) Research Course Requirements.

2) The Candidacy Exam

(listed as the "comprehensive exam" in graduate studies (gs) rules/terms).

After completing the core courses, electives, and research requirements, a PhD student's next task is to find a potential dissertation supervisor and to begin exploratory research with that faculty member. After about a year of initial exploratory research, the student is generally prepared to advance to doctoral candidacy by taking and passing the Candidacy Exam. The faculty member who has supervised the student's initial research is the Chair of the Candidacy Exam Committee and becomes the student's dissertation supervisor upon successful completion of the exam. Please note that the student's Academic Advisor continues to advise the student on all academic matters until the student has passed the Candidacy Exam and submitted the Application for Candidacy paperwork for PhD.

After passing the candidacy exam, submit the Application for Candidacy (AC) to Graduate Studies for their approval and processing in order to advance to candidacy.  The AC must be submitted no later than the semester prior to graduation, but ideally soon after passing the exam. You need 48 hours of coursework (400 & 500 level graduate classes, 500 & 581seminars, 650 Research, 551-552 Problems) on the AC.  If you plan to or already have received a MS Plan II "on way to PhD", you need a total of 50 hours of coursework (including the 32 for MS Plan II). In addition to the required coursework hours, you also need a minimum of 18 hours of 699 Dissertation.  If not all required hours have been taken, the AC provides a field for “future courses to be used to fulfill degree” in which any remaining coursework hours and the required dissertation may be entered one semester at a time up until the semester you expect to graduate.

Announcement of Exam is due a minimum of 2 weeks prior to exam date . See Academic Programs Coordinator for further details.

The Candidacy Exam is an oral examination with a 10 to 15 page written component to ensure a student's readiness to enter into research and to demonstrate his/her proficiency in graduate-level physics in his/her subdiscipline.

Once you prepare the written component in consultation with your research advisor, send it directly to your candidacy exam committee at least 14 days prior to the exam.

Candidacy Exam Committee

Candidacy Exam Description

Additional Candidacy Exam Rules

3) The PhD Dissertation Defense: Announcement of Exam is due a minimum of 2 weeks prior to exam date. The candidate must submit the dissertation to all Committee members at least 2 weeks prior to the defense date for review. Please follow the Graduate Studies Dissertation Manuscript Submission Procedures . To form a dissertation committee per GS, see Dissertation Committee guidelines , plus MOU for LANL and SNL members or MOU for AFRL, NRAO, SNL members if pertinent. See Sr. Academic Advisor for further details. Dissertation Formatting guidelines may be found on the GS site, the tab Formatting Aids has a link to a template for LaTeX . 4) Overall Schedule and Deadlines for Physics PhD Students:

Overall Schedule and Deadlines for Physics PhD Students:

P&A Policy on Graduate Student Leaves of Absence

Graduate students wishing to take a leave of absence of a duration longer than 1 month during the academic term are required to notify the department's Academic Programs Coordinator in advance to request approval from the Graduate Committee. Failure to obtain advance written approval from the department may result in dismissal from the degree program. Approval of a leave of absence does not necessarily grant a postponement in the mandatory schedule for completion of core courses and the candidacy exam. Students holding assistantships prior to beginning leaves of absence are not guaranteed assistantships upon their return to the academic program without prior approval from the Graduate Committee.

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Physics Graduate Studies

The physics option offers a program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This program prepares students for careers in scientific research or research combined with teaching. Courses are offered that give a broad treatment of both fundamental physics and specialized physics research topics. Graduates of our program are expected to have extensive experience with modern research methods, a broad knowledge of contemporary physics, and the ability to perform as independent researchers at the highest intellectual and technical levels. Read more...

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Call for applications PhD programmes (A.Y. 2021/22)

PhD in Physics

* The following shall take part in the work of the Examination Board as expert members for positions linked to specific research topics:   Francesco Minardi  (CNR, [email protected]; research topic "Experimental cold atoms physics and photonics"; substitutes Marco Prevedelli, Tobias Cramer); Castellani Gastone  (Università di Bologna, [email protected]; research topic "Machine learning and network-based techniques for analysis and modelling of Haematologic cancer data"); Maria Clelia Righi  (Università di Bologna, [email protected]; research topics "Reactions at materials interfaces activated by mechanical forces: fundamental understanding and applications" and "Advancing solid interfaces for energy harvesting and tribological applications"; substitute: Tobias Cramer);  Graziano Bruni (INFN, [email protected]; research topic "Experimental Physics of Fundamental Interactions"; Silvia Pascoli  (INFN, [email protected]; research topic "Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interactions"); Francesca Bellini (DIFA, [email protected]; research topic "Measurement of (Anti)helium production with ALICE at the LHC for indirect dark matter searches in cosmic rays"); Olivia Levrini (DIFA, [email protected]; research topic "Role of STEM education in the society of acceleration and uncertainty: development of methodologies for analysing the impact of didactical activities in formal and non-formal contexts").

Michele Cicoli

Coordinator of the PhD Programme in Physics

Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia "Augusto Righi"

Via Irnerio 46 Bologna (BO)

[email protected]

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Department of Physics

Graduate students, prospective students, find all the information you need, including application,  here ..

The Department of Physics offers the opportunity for students to pursue a Ph.D. in many areas of experimental and theoretical physics. Entering students typically have undergraduate degrees in physics or related fields, and are drawn from among the most talented students around the world. The department does not offer a terminal master's program.

The Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) began as a grassroots student organization and has grown to encompass 18 graduate programs in the Biological Sciences Division (BSD) and Physical Sciences Division (PSD) at the University of Chicago with over 50 members and a dedicated faculty counterpart in the form of the Diversity Council. GRIT is committed to enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity across the BSD and PSD graduate programs. GRIT focuses on three central components:  recruitment ,  retention , and  sustainability  in order to increase the recruitment and retention of students from marginalized backgrounds.

Learn more about GRIT  here .

Incoming and Returning Students

If you wish to speak to someone about the Ph.D. program, or other issues pertaining to the graduate student experience, please contact either  Zosia Krusberg , the Director of Graduate Studies,  Stuart Gazes , the Undergraduate Program Chair, or  P eter Littlewood , the Department Chair.

Links to detailed information and resources for incoming and returning graduate students are found under the tabs below.

Incoming Student Information

For international incoming students, please check out International Students Resource for more information.

Dean of Students (Physical Science Division)

The Dean of Students Office works with students, faculty, divisional staff, and campus partners to advance the academic, personal, and professional development of students in the Physical Sciences Division. Our central mission is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students as they pursue their education and thrive as members of the broader University of Chicago community. 

Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM. You can reach the Dean of Students Office by emailing  [email protected] .

A full list of resources can be found under Dean of Students Current Student Resources .


Contact [email protected] , and visit grad.uchicago.edu  to learn more.

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Physics Graduate School Admission Results

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Department of Physics & Energy Science


Ph.D. Program

Ph.d. in applied sciences physics option.

The Physics Department offers a program leading to a PhD in Applied Science with a specialization in Physics. For information about the graduate program, prospective students should contact Graduate Co-Adviser Prof. Tom Christensen (Effective from 01/01/2021 please also contact Kristen Petersen ). Please refer to the physics research page for a summary of primary research interests and programs. The application process is online through Admissions. More information can also be found on the Graduate School website. Enrolled students should contact Graduate Co-Adviser Prof. Tom Christensen , for more information on Comprehensive Exams, Defenses, and graduation paperwork.

Admission Requirements

All applicants at a minimum requirement must:

Promising students who do not meet all of the requirements may be considered as provisional applicants. Provisional status may be removed when the student fulfills all the requirements set out by the Physics Department when they were admitted. Students admitted provisionally should work with the Physics graduate adviser to ensure they have all the coursework preparation needed before undertaking graduate-level classes.

Additional requirements for some students

Satisfying these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to our program.

The graduate application forms can be found   here .

Program Requirements

The student must complete a minimum of 66 hours of coursework and dissertation. This includes:

More details can be found in our   PhD handbook but some key points about the dissertation are noted here.

UCCS Physics PhD Handbook

More information can be found in the UCCS Applied Sciences PhD Physics option handbook   here .   The handbook is updated periodically.

Courses are listed below. Catalog descriptions of classes can be found here .

A grade of "B" or above is needed for a course to be counted towards the PhD degree.

Note: Courses from other departments may also be used as electives with the prior written consent of the graduate advisor .

Physics Core courses (21 hours)

Primary physics elective courses (15 hours), graduate physics courses schedule.

Please note that classes are offered every other year. You must plan accordingly to make sure that you take classes when they are available. The tables below show when we anticipate offering graduate courses.

The core courses should follow the schedule below unless there are exceptional circumstances. Electives are often determined only one or two semesters in advance, depending on faculty availability and student demand. However, we will try to keep close to the schedule below. This is meant as a general guide only.

Academic Year 2020-21, 2022-23, 2024-25, etc.

  Academic Year 2019-2020, 2021-2022, 2023-24, etc.

Other courses that are not on 2 year schedule but will be included as appropriate: - 6900 Theory of the solid state 1 - 6910 Theory of the solid state 2 - 5950 & 6950 Special topics (Group Theory, etc - as available)

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Doctoral Program in Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Irvine offers a program of graduate study leading to a Ph.D. degree in Physics. Our graduate course curriculum provides a foundation in fundamental physics and elective courses in a broad range of topical areas. Graduate students carry out original research in diverse areas of experimental and theoretical physics and astrophysics , under the guidance of members of our departmental faculty .  We also offer a graduate program in Chemical and Materials Physics as a joint program with the UCI Department of Chemistry . Graduates of our Ph.D. program are well prepared for careers in scientific research, teaching, and industry. See the links below for detailed information about our program, the applications process, and campus resources for graduate students.

Graduate Program Open House for Prospective Applicants, November 19, 2022 (Click for link)

University of Cambridge

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About the university, research at cambridge.

PhD in Physics

Postgraduate Admissions

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The PhD in Physics is a full-time period of research which introduces or builds upon, research skills and specialist knowledge. Students are assigned a research supervisor, a specialist in part or all of the student's chosen research field, and join a research group which might vary in size between a handful to many tens of individuals.

Although the supervisor is responsible for the progress of a student's research programme, the extent to which a postgraduate student is assisted by the supervisor or by other members of the group depends almost entirely on the structure and character of the group concerned. The research field is normally determined at entry, after consideration of the student's interests and the facilities available. The student, however, may work within a given field for a period of time before their personal topic is determined.

There is no requirement made by the University for postgraduate students to attend formal courses or lectures for the PhD. Postgraduate work is largely a matter of independent research and successful postgraduates require a high degree of self-motivation. Nevertheless, lectures and classes may be arranged, and students are expected to attend both seminars (delivered regularly by members of the University and by visiting scholars and industrialists) and external conferences. Postgraduate students are also expected to participate in the undergraduate teaching programme at some time whilst they are based at the Cavendish, in order to develop their teaching, demonstrating, outreach, organisational and person-management skills.

It is expected that postgraduate students will also take advantage of the multiple opportunities available for transferable skills training within the University during their period of research.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the research programme, students will have demonstrated:

The Department of Physics participates in the University of Cambridge's Postgraduate Open Day.

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the  Postgraduate Open Day  page for more details.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time, 5-7 years part-time, doctor of philosophy, department of physics, course - related enquiries, application - related enquiries, course on department website, dates and deadlines:, lent 2023 (closed).

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Easter 2023 (Closed)

Michaelmas 2023, easter 2024, funding deadlines.

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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phd physics 2021

PhD in Physics

Recent graduate student.

Every PhD in Physics recipient is expected to acquire:

Students must earn a minimum of 30 credit hours in formal graduate courses approved by the Department of Physics. Courses in PHY 598, PHY 599, and all PHY 600 level courses do not count toward this requirement. Students must maintain an overall GPA minimum of 3.0 (equivalent to a grade of "B") for all courses leading to the degree.

The UB College of Arts and Sciences is committed to recruiting the very best PhD students and preparing doctoral students for career success. 

Minimum Course Requirements

All PhD candidates must take and pass the following graduate courses with an average grade equivalent to "B" or higher:

Of the remaining 12 required credits, student may take only graduate level courses. The following two courses are required:

PHY 503 and 504, as well as any undergraduate courses taken for graduate credits, are excluded.  Students who must take remedial or undergraduate courses during the first two semesters will require more than two years to complete their course work.  

Comprehensive Exam

Within 24 months (four semesters) of enrollment as a full-time graduate student, every student in the PhD track is required to pass the Comprehensive Examination. Students are permitted a maximum of two attempts.

The Comprehensive Examination consists of a written reseach proposal, a research presentation and an oral examination on research and course preparation (Sample questions on High Energy Physics ,  Condensed Matter Physics ) . For further details please see the  Graduate Physics Handbook.

Thesis Committee Composition

Students must choose their Major Professor and PhD committee members by filling out the  Thesis Advisor Form  no later than 24 months after enrollment in the graduate program. The Major Professor (or one of the co-Major Professors) must be a regular faculty member in the Department of Physics. The Major Professor must also be a member of the Graduate School Faculty who holds the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. Failure to choose an advisor may result in losing Departmental financial support.

The PhD Committee should consist of two or more faculty members (in addition to the Major Professor) chosen by the student with approval from the Graduate Studies Committee. All committee members should demonstrate active engagement in research during the last five years. When possible, at least one committee member should work in a field or research similar or relevant to the student's thesis topic. Faculty from other UB departments may also serve on the committee. The same criteria regarding research apply for the selection of committee members outside the Department of Physics.

For further information, please consult the  Graduate Student Handbook  or contact Dr.  Xuedong Hu , Director of Graduate Studies. 


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  1. Data on Graduate Education

    February 2021. Data graphic. Average Number of Physics PhDs Conferred (Classes of 2017-19) by Number of Doctoral-Granting US Physics Departments.

  2. Graduate Program ~ PhD in Physics Requirements

    PhD in Physics Requirements (as of Fall 2021). To remain in good academic standing, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at

  3. Physics Graduate Studies

    Requirements for a Doctorate in Physics. Masters Degree in Physics Caltech commencement. Masters Degree in Physics. Advising and Thesis Supervision Students

  4. PhD details

    Academic Year, 2021-2022. Subject area, Mathematical Physical, Chemical and Astronomical Sciences. Cycle, 37. Coordinator, Prof. Michele Cicoli.

  5. Graduate Students

    The Department of Physics offers the opportunity for students to pursue a Ph.D. in many areas of experimental and theoretical physics.

  6. Physics Graduate School Admission Results

    Physics, Northwestern University hep-ex, had interview a couple weeks ago. Added on March 01, 2023. Accepted on 1 Mar Fall 2023 PhD 0

  7. Ph.D. Program

    For information about the graduate program, prospective students should contact Graduate Co-Adviser Prof. Tom Christensen (Effective from 01/01/2021 please also

  8. Doctoral Program in Physics

    Doctoral Program in Physics ... Graduates of our Ph.D. program are well prepared for careers in scientific research, teaching, ... updated 10.23.2021.

  9. PhD in Physics

    The PhD in Physics is a full-time period of research which introduces or builds upon, ... 1, 2021; Application deadline: Oct. 4, 2022; Course Starts: Jan.

  10. PhD in Physics

    Every PhD in Physics recipient is expected to acquire: ... All PhD candidates must take and pass the following graduate courses with an average grade