how long does phd in physics take

  • Doing a PhD in Physics
  • Doing a PhD

What Is It Like to Do a PhD in Physics?

Physics is arguably the most fundamental scientific discipline and underpins much of our understanding of the universe. Physics is based on experiments and mathematical analysis which aims to investigate the physical laws which make up life as we know it.

Due to the large scope of physics, a PhD project may focus on any of the following subject areas:

  • Thermodynamics
  • Cosmology and Astrophysics
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Condensed matter Physics
  • Particle Physics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • Computational Physics
  • Theoretical Physics
  • Electromagnetism and photonics
  • Molecular physics
  • And many more

Compared to an undergraduate degree, PhD courses involve original research which, creates new knowledge in a chosen research area. Through this you will develop a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research, become an expert in your research field, and contribute to extending the boundaries of knowledge.

During your postgraduate study you will be required to produce a dissertation which summarises your novel findings and explains their significance. Postgraduate research students also undertake an oral exam, known as the Viva, where you must defend your thesis to examiners.

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Decoherence due to flux noise in superconducting qubits at microkelvin temperatures, in-situ disposal of cementitious wastes at uk nuclear sites, coventry university postgraduate research studentships, discovery of solid state electrolytes using deep learning, observing the black hole mergers in the early universe with next-generation gravitational wave observatories, hear from phd students and doctorates:.

To get a better perspective of what life is really like doing a Physics PhD, read the interview profiles below, from those that have been there before, and are there now:

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Physics?

The typical full-time programme has a course length of 3 to 4 years . Most universities also offer part-time study . The typical part-time programme has a course length of 5 to 7 years.

The typical Physics PhD programme sees PhD students study on a probationary basis during their first year. Admission to the second year of study and enrolment onto the PhD programme is subject to a successful first year review. The format of this review varies across organisations but commonly involves a written report of progress made on your research project and an oral examination.

Additional Learning Modules:

Most Physics PhD programme have no formal requirement for students to attend core courses. There are, however, typically several research seminars, technical lectures, journal clubs and other courses held within the Physics department that students are expected to attend.

Research seminars are commonly arranged throughout your programme to support you with different aspects of your study, for example networking with other postgraduates, guidelines on working with your supervisor, how to avoid bias in independent research, tips for thesis writing, and time management skills.

Doctoral training and development workshops are commonly organised both within and outside of the department and aim to develop students’ transferrable skills (for example communication and team working). Information on opportunities for development that exist within the University and explored and your post doctorate career plans will be discussed.

Lectures run by department staff and visiting scholars on particular subject matters relevant to your research topic are sometimes held, and your supervisor (or supervisory committee) is likely to encourage you to attend.

Typical Entry Requirements:

A UK Physics PhD programme normally requires a minimum upper second-class (2:1) honours undergraduate or postgraduate degree (or overseas equivalent) in physics, or a closely related subject. Closely related subjects vary depending on projects, but mathematics and material sciences are common. Graduate students with relevant work experience may also be considered.

Funded PhD programmes (for examples those sponsored by Doctoral Training Partnerships or by the university school) are more competitive, and hence entry requirements tend to be more demanding.

English Language Requirements:

Universities typically expect international students to provide evidence of their English Language ability as part of their applications. This is usually benchmarked by an IELTS exam score of 6.5 (with a minimum score of 6 in each component), a TOEFL (iBT) exam score 92, a CAE and CPE exam score of 176 or another equivalent. The exact score requirements for the different English Language Qualifications may differ across different universities.

Tips to Improve Your Application:

If you are applying to a Physics PhD, you should have a thorough grasp of the fundamentals of physics, and also appreciate the concepts within the focus of your chosen research topic. Whilst you should be able to demonstrate this through either your Bachelors or Master’s degree, it is also beneficial to also be able to show this through extra-curricular engagement, for example attending seminars or conferences. This will also get across your passion for Physics – a valuable addition to your application as supervisors are looking for committed students.

It is advisable to make informal contact with the project supervisors for any positions you are interested in prior to applying formally. This is a good chance for you to understand more about the Physics department and project itself. Contacting the supervisor also allows you to build a rapport, demonstrate your interest, and see if the project and potential supervisor are a good fit for you. Some universities require you to provide additional evidence to support your application. These can include:

  • University certificates and transcripts (translated to English if required)
  • Academic CV
  • Covering Letter
  • English certificate – for international students

How Much Does a Physics PhD Degree Typically Cost?

Annual tuition fees for a PhD in Physics in the UK are approximately £4,000 to £5,000 per year for home (UK) students and are around £22,000 per year for overseas students. This, alongside the standard range in tuition fees that you can expect, is summarised below:

Note: The EU students are considered International from the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Due to the experimental nature of Physics programmes, research students not funded by UK research councils may also be required to pay a bench fee . Bench fees are additional fees to your tuition, which covers the cost of travel, laboratory materials, computing equipment or resources associated with your research. For physics research students in particular this is likely to involve training in specialist software, laboratory administration, material and sample ordering, and computing upkeep.

What Specific Funding Opportunities Are There for A PhD in Physics?

As a PhD applicant, you may be eligible for a loan of up to £25,700. You can apply for a PhD loan if you’re ordinarily resident in the UK or EU, aged 60 or under when the course starts and are not in receipt of Research Council funding.

Research Councils provide funding for research in the UK through competitive schemes. These funding opportunities cover doctoral students’ tuition fees and sometimes include an additional annual maintenance grant. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a government agency that funds scientific research in the UK. Applications for EPSRC funding should be made directly to the EPSRC, but some Universities also advertise EPSRC funded PhD studentships on their website. The main funding body for Physics PhD studentships is EPSRC’s group on postgraduate support and careers, which has responsibility for postgraduate student support.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) funds a large range of projects in Physics and Astronomy. To apply for funding students must locate the relevant project, contact the host institution for details of the postdoctoral researcher they wish to approach and then apply directly to them.

You can use DiscoverPhD’s database to search for a PhD studentship in Physics now.

What Specific Skills Will You Get from a PhD in Physics?

PhD doctorates possess highly marketable skills which make them strong candidates for analytical and strategic roles. The following skills in particular make them attractive prospects to employers in research, finance and consulting:

  • Strong numerical skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Laboratory experience
  • Application of theoretical concepts to real world problems

Aside from this, postgraduate students will also get transferable skills that can be applied to a much wider range of careers. These include:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Great attention to detail
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Independent thinking

What Jobs Can I Get with a PhD in Physics?

The wide range of specialties within Physics courses alone provides a number of job opportunities, from becoming a meteorologist to a material scientist. However, one of the advantages Physics doctorates have over other doctorates is their studies often provide a strong numerical and analytical foundation. This opens a number of career options outside of traditional research roles. Examples of common career paths Physics PostDocs take are listed below:

Academia – A PhD in Physics is a prerequisite for higher education teaching roles in Physics (e.g. University lecturer). Many doctorates opt to teach and supervise students to continue their contribution to research. This is popular among those who favour the scientific nature of their field and wish to pursue theoretical concepts.

PostDoc Researcher – Other postdoctoral researchers enter careers in research, either academic capacity i.e. researching with their University, or in industry i.e. with an independent organisation. Again, this is suited to those who wish to continue learning, enjoy collaboration and working in an interdisciplinary research group, and also offers travel opportunities for international conferences.

Astronomy – Astronomers study the universe and often work with mathematical formulas, computer modelling and theoretical concepts to predict behaviours. A PhD student in this field may work as astrobiologists, planetary geologists or government advisors.

Finance – As mentioned previously, analytical and numerical skills are the backbone of the scientific approach, and the typical postgraduate research programme in Physics is heavily reliant on numeracy. As such, many PostDocs are found to have financial careers. Financial roles typically offer lucrative salaries.

Consulting – Consulting firms often consider a doctoral student with a background in Physics for employment as ideal for consultancy, based on their critical thinking and strategic planning skills.

How Much Can You Earn with A PhD in Physics?

Data from the HESA is presented below which presents the salary band of UK domiciled leaver (2012/13) in full-time paid UK employment with postgraduate qualifications in Physical Studies:

With a doctoral physics degree, your earning potential will mostly depend on your chosen career path. Due to the wide range of options, it’s impossible to provide an arbitrary value for the typical salary you can expect. However, if you pursue one of the below paths or enter their respective industry, you can roughly expect to earn:

Academic Lecturer

  • Approximately £30,000 – £35,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £40,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £45,000 – £55,000 with 10 years experience
  • Approximately £60,000 and over with significant experience and a leadership role. Certain academic positions can earn over £80,000 depending on the management duties.

Actuary or Finance

  • Approximately £35,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £45,000 – £55,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £70,000 and over with 10 years experience
  • Approximately £180,000 and above with significant experience and a leadership role.

Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering

  • Approximately £28,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £35,000 – £40,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £60,000 and over with 10 years experience

Data Analyst

  • Approximately £45,000 – £50,000 with a few years experience
  • Approximately £90,000 and above with significant experience and a leadership role.


  • Approximately £28,000 – £35,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £40,000 – £65,000 with a few years’ experience
  • Approximately £80,000 and over with significant experience and a leadership role

Medical Physicist

  • Approximately £27,500 – £30,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £30,000 – £45,000 with a few years’ experience
  • Approximately £50,000 and over with significant experience and a leadership role


  • Approximately £20,000 – £25,000 starting salary
  • Approximately £25,000 – £35,000 with a few years’ experience
  • Approximately £45,000 and over with significant experience and a leadership role

Again, we stress that the above are indicative values only. Actual salaries will depend on the specific organisation and position and responsibilities of the individual.

UK Physics PhD Statistics

The Higher Education Statistics Agency has an abundance of useful statistics and data on higher education in the UK. We have looked at the data from the Destination of Leavers 2016/17 survey to provide information specific for Physics Doctorates:

The graph below shows the destination of 2016/17 leavers with research based postgraduate qualifications in physical sciences. This portrays a very promising picture for Physics doctorates, with 92% of leavers are in work or further study.

DiscoverPhDs Physics Leaver Destinations

The table below presents the destination (sorted by standard industrial classification) of 1015 students entering employment in the UK with doctorates in Physical Studies, from 2012/13 to 2016/17. It can be seen that PhD postdocs have a wide range of career paths, though jobs in education, professional, scientific and technical activities, and manufacturing are common.

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How to Get a Ph.D. in Physics

Last Updated: August 22, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Sean Alexander, MS . Sean Alexander is an Academic Tutor specializing in teaching mathematics and physics. Sean is the Owner of Alexander Tutoring, an academic tutoring business that provides personalized studying sessions focused on mathematics and physics. With over 15 years of experience, Sean has worked as a physics and math instructor and tutor for Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and Stanbridge Academy. He holds a BS in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MS in Theoretical Physics from San Francisco State University. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 147,765 times.

Physics can be an exciting field to go into! You can pursue a career in academics, in government research, or in the private sector. To start on the road to getting a PhD, develop your science and math skills. If you're still in high school and college, you have ample time to focus on your science education; if not, don't be deterred. Even without a science degree, you can find and apply to a PhD program of your choice. After that, all you need to do is complete your PhD program; it's not an easy task, but it's one you can achieve if you set your mind to it.

Developing Your Education in High School and College

Step 1 Focus on physics in high school, if you can.

  • It can help to find a role model. If there are physicists in your community, try contacting them to see if they'll help you in your pursuit. Many may be willing to have you shadow them for a period of time.
  • Don't forget to invest time in math classes, as well, as math is essential to physics.
  • Make sure you are well-rounded, though. To do well on college entrance exams, it helps to be proficient in as many subjects as possible.

Step 2 Take your entrance exams.

  • To do well on these exams, you'll need to prep ahead of time. Your school may offer prep courses, but you can also purchase study guides that have practice tests. Taking practice tests gives you an idea of what the actual exam will be like, so you can go into the test with less anxiety. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Find the right undergraduate program.

  • Though not necessary, it can help to know whether you want to go into theoretical or experimental physics, though it's not a requirement. [4] X Research source

Step 4 Use your time wisely.

  • Ask your professors about opportunities in your college and surrounding area.

Applying to a Graduate Program

  • You do not need to be a genius to get a PhD. Graduate school is hard work, but success depends on your dedication more than on your ability.

Step 2 Work on your GREs.

  • Like the SAT and ACT, you can find any number of prep courses and prep materials for the GRE. You can also find practice tests to take online.

Step 3 Decide if you need to go through a master's program, or if you will go directly into a PhD program.

  • Keep in mind that in some cases, schools will collapse a master's program and PhD into one program. So when you choose a master's program, you may very well be choosing your PhD program, as well.
  • 4 Try to meet and talk to physicists. Look into physics talks for the general public in your area or contact a physics department directly. Most places will be happy to give you information and point you to resources about graduate programs.

Determining Your Research Focus

Step 1 Make the mental switch to research.

  • Take the time to gain some experience. Apply for lab positions so you can get a feel for what it's like to do research in a lab full time.

Step 3 Do some research into topics you love.

  • Choosing a school with professors whose research you enjoy is a great way to focus your work. As your work gets more individual, you want to work with professors who have similar interests.

Step 5 Apply to a PhD program.

  • Submit all the appropriate paperwork for your application, including your transcripts, academic references, and your basic application. [10] X Research source
  • In many cases, you'll need to write a personal statement or research proposal, as well.

Working on Your PhD

Step 1 Take your placement exams.

  • Try to focus classes on the area you want to write on.
  • Outside of class, read as much as you can in your area.

Step 3 Connect with professors.

  • The best way to get started is to attend department functions so you can start getting to know your professors better, as well as their interests.
  • It can also help to talk with older students informally, so you can get an idea of who will be a good fit for you.

Step 4 Learn to manage your time well.

  • Part of managing your time well is learning to shift your schedule when you need to. If something is taking longer than it should, realize you'll need to cut something else from your day.

Step 5 Take advantage of your school's research courses.

  • You should also take advantage of courses teaching things like writing grant proposals, which is a great skill to have.

Researching and Writing Your Dissertation

Step 1 Find a thesis advisor.

  • If you're still looking, consider taking classes with potential advisors. You can also ask to meet with them, though be sure to do your research ahead of time by reading articles the professor has published.
  • "What are your expectations for a research student?"
  • "How do you offer criticism?"
  • "How often will we meet?"
  • "How quickly will you get back to me with revisions?"
  • Once you've narrowed down your choices, approach the professor and ask them to be your research advisor. If you have an interdisciplinary project, you may need more than one advisor.

Step 2 Work on your research.

  • Start with the outline. You fill in the verbiage last, usually. Figure out what you need to say, and divide it into chapters. Work on the supporting figures next. You'll need plenty of figures and tables to support your conclusions. Additionally, reviewers on your committee may not read every word, but they usually look at all of the figures and read the captions to get the gist of what's going on.
  • When you write, only write. Give yourself a time span where you allow yourself no option of doing anything else but writing. Sometimes it helps to write in the same office/coffee shop/etc. with another student working on their thesis, if you both can keep each other on task. You can take breaks together and take the heat off a bit.

Step 4 Pass your defense.

  • However, by the time you're doing your defense, your paper should have been reviewed multiple times by your advisor, which means you shouldn't have any trouble passing.

Expert Q&A

Sean Alexander, MS

  • Don't let money hold you back. Most physics departments will support their students through teaching assistantships or research assistantships. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Is your interest more focused on learning or on doing science?
  • Would you enjoy actively doing research in physics? All programs require you to take classes or pass exams, but most of your work during a PhD program will be dedicated to doing research.
  • What would you pursue once you get a PhD? If what you are after is a particular job or line of work, consider whether you need a PhD for it.
  • Are you comfortable with spending a few additional years in a university? Most PhD programs in the United States will take 5-6 years on average.

how long does phd in physics take

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Admissions Information for Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for considering the PhD program in Physics at MIT. Information regarding our graduate program and our application process can be found below and through the following webpages and other links on this page. If your questions are not answered after reviewing this information, please contact us at [email protected] .

Here are some links to pages relevant to prospective students:

  • Material Required for a Complete Application , and information about When/How to Apply can be found below on this page.
  • We have an FAQ which should help to answer many questions, and we provide Application Assistance from staff and students if you don’t find what you need in the FAQ.
  • Additional Guidance about the application itself, along with examples, can be found on a separate page. The graduate application is available at .
  • General information about the graduate program and research areas in the physics department may also be of use.
  • MSRP (MIT Summer Research Program) is designed to give underrepresented and underserved students access to an MIT research experience, pairing each student with a faculty member who will oversee the student conducting a research project at MIT.

Statement regarding admissions process during COVID Pandemic (Updated Summer 2023)

MIT has adopted the following principle: MIT’s admissions committees and offices for graduate and professional schools will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.

In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students. We also expect that the individual experiences of applicants will richly inform applications and, as such, they will be considered with the entirety of a student’s record.

Ultimately, even in these challenging times, our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are collectively excellent and composed of outstanding individuals who will challenge and support one another.

Questions or concerns about this statement should be directed to the Physics Department ( [email protected] ).

Also, to stay up-to-date on the latest information on MIT and the COVID-19 pandemic at .

Applying to the MIT Department of Physics

We know that the application process can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. We are committed to reducing these barriers and to helping all applicants receive a full and fair assessment by our faculty reviewers. Help is available from the Physics Graduate Admissions Office at [email protected] and additional assistance from current students is offered during the admissions season. Further details are described at the end of this page in our Assistance for Prospective Applicants section.

The list below describes the important elements of a complete application. Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have a concern or logistical difficulty that could prevent you from providing your strongest application.

Required for a Complete Application

1. online application and application fee.

  • MIT Graduate Admissions Online Graduate Application
  • Application Fee: $75 NOTE: Applicants who feel that this fee may prevent them from applying should send a short email to [email protected] to describe their general reasons for requesting a waiver. We will follow up with information about how to apply for a formal ‘application fee waiver’. Additional documents may be required, so additional time will be necessary to process requests. Either the fee or a formal fee waiver is required with a submitted application.

2. University Transcript(s)

Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for our initial review, with final transcripts required as a condition of matriculation for successful applicants. Applicants should include a scan of their transcript(s) and, if a degree is in progress, should include a list of the class subjects being taken in the current semester. The GradApply portal will allow applicants to log back into the application after the deadline to add their Fall term grades when they are available.

Note: We will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students.

3. Standardized Test Results

  • GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Test or a waiver is required for non-native English speakers. MIT’s TOEFL school code is 3514; the code for the Department of Physics is 76. IELTS does not require a code. Eligibility for TOEFL/IELTS waivers is in our FAQ section .
  • Self-reported scores are sufficient for our initial application screening, with official scores required for admitted students as a condition of their offer. Applicants should attach a scanned copy of their test score report.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Letters should include any individual work applicants have done and/or areas where they have special strengths. It is possible to submit up to 6 total letters, but 3 are sufficient for a complete application and committee members may evaluate applications based on the first three letters that they read.

5. Statement of Objectives

Research is central to graduate study in physics. The Statement of Objectives/Purpose should include descriptions of research projects, aptitude and achievements as completely as possible. This important part of the application provides an opportunity to describe any interests, skills, and background relative to the research areas selected on the application form. Applicants should share anything that prepares them for graduate studies and describe their proudest achievements.

Additional Application Materials

  • Research, Teaching, and Community Engagement – Any special background or achievement that prepares the applicant for Physics graduate studies at MIT. This may include research at their undergraduate school as part of their Bachelor or Master degree, or summer research at another program or school.  We also value our student’s contributions to their community on a variety of scales (from institutional to societal) and we encourage applicants to tell us about their teaching and community engagement activities.  The “experience” questions are intended to provide a CV-like listing of achievements, some of which may be elaborated on in the “Statement of Objectives” and/or the optional “Personal Statement”.
  • Publications, Talks, and Merit Based Recognition – Recognition of success in research, academics, and outreach can take many forms, including publications, talks, honors, prizes, awards, fellowships, etc.  This may include current nominations for scholarships or papers submitted for publication.
  • Optional Personal Statement – Members of our community come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We welcome any personal information that will help us to evaluate applications holistically and will provide context for the applicant’s academic achievements. This statement may include extenuating circumstances, significant challenges that were overcome, a non-traditional educational background, description of any advocacy or values work, or other information that may be relevant.
  • Detailed instructions for each application section, and many examples , can be found on the “ Additional Guidance ” page.  The detailed instructions are lengthy, and are intended to be read only “as needed” while you work on your application (i.e., you don’t need to go read the whole thing before you start).

When/How to Apply

When : Applications can be submitted between September 15 and December 15 by 11:59pm EST for the following year.

How : The application is online at

Application Assistance

Faculty, students, and staff have collaborated to provide extensive guidance to prospective applicants to our graduate degree program. Resources include several department webpages to inform prospective applicants about our PhD degree requirements and to help applicants as they assemble and submit their materials. In addition to staff responses to emails, current graduate students will answer specific individual questions, give one admissions-related webinar, and provide a mentorship program for selected prospective applicants.

During the application season, prospective students may request additional information from current students about the admissions process, graduate student life, or department culture, either as a response to a specific individual email question or for more in-depth assistance. Applicants will benefit most from contacting us early in the process, when current students and staff will be available to respond to questions and mentor selected applicants. After mid-November, department staff will continue to field questions through the admission process.

Here are some resources for prospective applicants:

  • Our website provides answers to many frequently-asked admissions questions .
  • Admissions staff are available for questions at [email protected] .
  • Current students collaborate with staff to answer specific questions emailed to [email protected] .
  • PhysGAAP Webinars are designed to provide student perspectives on the application and admissions processes in an interactive format. This year’s webinar will take place on Wednesday, Nov 1st, 2023 from 10am to 12pm EDT. Sign up here:
  • PhysGAAP Mentoring provides in-depth guidance through the application process.

Student-led Q&A Service

A team of our current graduate students is available to share their experience and perspectives in response to individual questions which may fall under any of the following categories:

  • Coursework/research (e.g., How do I choose between two research areas and how do I find a potential research advisor?)
  • Culture (e.g., What is it like to be a student of a particular identity at MIT?)
  • Student life (e.g., What clubs or extracurriculars do graduate students at MIT take part in?)

To request a response from the current students, please send an email to [email protected] and indicate clearly in the subject line or first sentence that you would like your email forwarded to the PhysGAAP student team. Depending on the scope of your question, department staff will send your email to current students.

We encourage you to reach out as early as you can to maximize the benefit that this help can provide to you. While the admissions office staff will continue to field your questions throughout the admissions season, current students may not be available to respond to questions sent after November 15.

This student email resource is designed for individual basic questions. More in-depth guidance, especially about the application itself, will be available through the PhysGAAP Webinars and/or PhysGAAP Mentorship Program described below.

Student-led Webinar

A panel of our graduate students hosted a 2-hour long Zoom webinar in late October of 2022 to present information about the application and admissions processes, and to respond to questions on these topics. The webinar addressed general questions about preparing, completing, and submitting the application; what the Admissions Committee is looking for; and the general timeline for the admissions process.

Below is video from our latest webinar that took place on Wednesday, Nov 1st, 2023. Check back here in Fall 2024 for information on our next webinar.

Note: We have  compiled a document  containing supplementary material for previous PhysGAAP webinars.

Webinar Recordings

Past PhysGAAP Webinars

Please note that the two webinars below are from prior years and may contain outdated information about some topics, such as GRE requirements.

  • October 2022
  • December 2021
  • September 2021

Mentorship for Prospective Applicants

In addition to the materials available through this website, answers to emails sent to the department, or from our graduate student webinars, we also offer one-on-one mentoring for students who desire more in-depth individual assistance. Prospective applicants may apply to the PhysGAAP Mentoring program,, which pairs prospective graduate school applicants with current graduate students who can assist them through the application process, provide feedback on their application materials and insight into graduate school and the MIT Physics Department.

We welcome interest in the PhysGAAP Mentorship program and mentorship applications are open to any prospective applicant. However, our capacity is limited, so we will give preferential consideration to PhysGAAP Mentorship applicants who would most benefit from the program and can demonstrate that they are a good fit.

PhysGAAP Mentoring may a good fit for you if you

  • feel like you lack other resources to help you navigate the graduate school application process,
  • find the other forms of assistance (online webinars, email at [email protected] ) insufficient to address your needs, and
  • think you could benefit from one-on-one application mentorship.

PhysGAAP Mentoring may not be a good fit for you if you

  • only have one or two questions that could be answered elsewhere (online webinars, email at [email protected] , or online FAQs), or
  • feel like you already have sufficient resources to complete your application (e.g., the PhysGAAP webinars, access to other mentoring services or workshops)

poster advertising PhysGAAP Mentoring

Please note that:

  • PhysGAAP Mentoring is only open to students who are planning to apply to graduate schools in Fall 2024 .
  • Participation in PhysGAAP is not considered during admissions review. It helps applicants put forward their strongest materials, but does not guarantee admission into our graduate program.
  • Any information you submit in the PhysGAAP Mentoring application will only be seen by the PhysGAAP team and your matched mentor.

Admissions/Application FAQs

Our Frequently Asked Questions provide further information about degree requirements, funding, educational background, application deadlines, English language proficiency, program duration, start dates and deferrals, and fee waiver requests.

The MOST Frequently Asked Question…

What is included in a strong graduate application for physics at mit.

Applications are assessed holistically and many variables are considered in the application review process. The following four main factors are required for a complete application.

  • the applicant’s statement of objectives or purpose,
  • transcripts of past grades,
  • score reports of any required standardized tests,
  • three letters of reference.

In addition, any past research experience, publications, awards, and honors are extremely helpful, particularly if they are in the area(s) of the applicant’s interest(s). Applicants may also include a personal statement in their application to provide context as the materials are assessed.

Applications are routed to admission committee members and other faculty readers using the “areas of interest” and any faculty names selected from the menu as well as based on the research interests included in the statement of objectives. Please select the areas of interest that best reflect your goals.

Instructions are available in the application itself , with further guidance on our Additional Guidance page. The Physics Admissions Office will respond to questions sent to [email protected] .

General Questions Regarding the PhD Program in Physics

Must i have a degree in physics in order to apply to this graduate program.

Our successful applicants generally hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, or have taken many Physics classes if they have majored in another discipline. The most common other majors are astronomy, engineering, mathematics, and chemistry. Bachelor of Science degrees may be 3-year or 4-year degrees, depending on the education structure of the country in which they are earned.

What are the requirements to complete a PhD?

The requirements for a PhD in Physics at MIT are the doctoral examination, a few required subject classes, and a research-based thesis. The doctoral examination consists of a written and an oral examination. The written component may be satisfied either by passing the 4 subject exams or by passing designated classes related to each topic with a qualifying grade; the oral exam will be given in a student’s chosen research area. The Physics Department also requires that each student take two classes in the field of specialization and two physics-related courses in fields outside the specialty. Research for the thesis is conducted throughout the student’s time in the program, culminating in a thesis defense and submission of the final thesis.

Can I take courses at other schools nearby?

Yes. Cross-registration is available at Harvard University and Wellesley College.

How many years does it take to complete the PhD requirements?

From 3 to 7 years, averaging 5.6 years.

How will I pay for my studies?

Our students are fully supported financially throughout the duration of their program, provided that they make satisfactory progress. Funding is provided from Fellowships (internal and external) and/or Assistantships (research and teaching) and covers tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. Read more about funding .

Note: For more detailed information regarding the cost of attendance, including specific costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and food as well as transportation, please visit the Student Financial Services (SFS) website .

How many applications are submitted each year? How many students are accepted?

Although the number varies each year, the Department of Physics usually welcomes approximately 45 incoming graduate students each year. Last year we received more than 1,700 applications and extended fewer than 90 offers of admission.

What are the minimum grades and exam scores for admitted applicants?

There are no minimum standards for overall grade point averages/GPAs. Grades from physics and other related classes will be carefully assessed. Under a special COVID-19 policy, MIT will accept transcripts with a variety of grading conventions, including any special grading given during the COVID-19 pandemic. GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.

Our program is conducted in English and all applicants must demonstrate their English language proficiency. Non-native English speakers should review our policy carefully before waiving the TOEFL/IELTS requirements. We do not set a minimum requirement on TOEFL/IELTS scores; however, students who are admitted to our program typically score above the following values:

  • IELTS – 7
  • TOEFL (computer based) – 200
  • TOEFL (iBT) – 100
  • TOEFL (standard) – 600

The Application Process

When is the deadline for applying to the phd program in physics.

Applications for enrollment in the fall are due each year by 11:59pm EST on December 15 of the preceding year. There is no admission cycle for spring-term enrollment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for me to take tests in person. Can I still apply?

GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.Non-native English speakers who are not eligible for a test waiver should include their results from either an in-person or online version of the TOEFL or IELTS test.

Does the Department of Physics provide waivers for the English language exam (TOEFL/IELTS)?

An English language exam (IELTS, TOEFL, TOEFL iBT, or the C2 Cambridge English Proficiency exam) is required of all applicants who are from a country in which English is not the primary language. Exceptions to this policy will be considered for candidates who, at the start of their graduate studies in 2022, will have been in the US or in a country whose official language is English for three years or longer and who will have received a degree from a college or university in a country where the language of education instruction is English. An interview via telephone, Zoom, or Skype may be arranged at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. More information on a possible English Language Waiver Decision (PDF).

Does the Department of Physics provide application fee waivers?

Although we do not want the MIT application fee to be a barrier to admission, we cannot provide application fee waivers to all who request one.  Under-resourced applicants, and applicants who have participated in the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), Converge, or another MIT program or an official MIT recruiting visit are eligible for a fee waiver from the MIT Office of Graduate Education (OGE). Please check MIT Graduate Diversity Programs for further details.  Departmentally, we have allotted a small number of waivers for applicants who have completed an application (including transcript uploads, and requests for letters of recommendation), but do not qualify for a waiver from the OGE. Fee waiver requests will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis, and not after December 1. Furthermore, applications lacking the paid fee or a fee waiver by 11:59pm EST on December 15 will not be reviewed or considered for admission. Please complete the  MIT Physics Departmental Fee Waiver Application Form  when you are ready to apply for a departmental waiver. Waivers are not awarded until the application is complete.

Can I arrange a visit to the Physics Department or a specific research area?

Update as of September 23, 2021: In an effort to keep our community safe and healthy, we are not currently hosting or meeting with outside visitors in person, nor are we facilitating visits to our classrooms. Current graduate students and prospective applicants should direct any questions by email to [email protected] .

Applicants are invited to send specific questions to the Physics Admissions Office and some questions may be forwarded to current students for further information.

Can I receive an update on the status of my application?

Candidates will receive email acknowledgments from the Physics Academic Programs Office informing them whether their application is complete, is missing materials, or if further information is needed. Due to the high volume of applications that are received, no additional emails or telephone inquiries can be answered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all items are sent.

When will I be notified of a final decision?

Applicants will be notified via email of decisions by the end of February. If you have not heard from us by March 1, please send email to [email protected] .

We do not provide results by phone.

Can admitted students start in a term other than the next Fall semester?

Applications submitted between September 15 and December 15 by 11:59pm EST are assessed for the following Fall semester. We do not provide a separate admission review cycle for the Spring semester. Individual research supervisors may invite incoming students to start their research during the summer term a few months earlier than their studies would normally begin. All other incoming students start their studies in late August for the Fall term.

Once admitted, applicants may request a one-year deferral to attend a specific academic program or for another approved reason, with single semester deferrals for the following Spring term granted only rarely.

The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How Long Does a PhD in Physics Take?

Kimberley McGee

How Long Does it Take to Get a Ph.D. in Chemistry?

Earning a Ph.D. is a grueling endeavor, even for the best of students. But the payoff can be spectacular. From reaching the pinnacle of a career in research to earning more money within your chosen profession, there are many reasons to pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D.

A Ph.D. can take years of challenging course work filled with demanding hours in labs and being hunched over research material while living off of a small stipend or fellowship. However, the investment of your time and labor pays off in a heftier salary in a shorter amount of time than other degrees can offer. Earning a Ph.D. opens doors to opportunities you may not have known existed or expected.

Length of Time a Ph.D. Can Take

The time it takes to complete any degree depends on the design of the program , the subject that the student is studying and the specific requirements of the college and other areas that need to be met in order to graduate.

The first two to three years of a doctoral program typically concentrate on a base of required classes with a sprinkling of elective courses. The research components of the classes can eat up a graduate student’s time.

A Ph.D. in physics has a duration of about five years. A doctorate degree can be obtained in about this amount of time, typically between four to six years.

What is a Dissertation?

The average length of a dissertation program is about eight years. Education and humanities degrees take longer than hard sciences such as astronomy or physics. A dissertation is a lengthy essay and complex work on a specific subject. It is completed as a requirement of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree .

The difference between a thesis and a dissertation is the level of degree. A thesis is a compilation of research that showcases what you have learned and your knowledge of the master’s program. It is turned in before the student can graduate. A dissertation is ongoing during the graduate student’s doctoral study and is an opportunity for the students to include new knowledge, practice or theory they may have discovered during their program.

Included in a dissertation is:

  • Introduction 
  • Abstract model of what the student is attempting to prove.
  • Validation of the model and proof of theorems
  • Measurements and significant data
  • Additional results that have been collected that point to the central thesis
  • Conclusions and future work, limitations or special cases that a student foresees

Career Paths for a Ph.D.

Once you obtain your Ph.D., you can become a leader in your field. Most careers that require a Ph.D. are research oriented.

Ph.D. careers include:

  • Systems Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Computer and Information Research Scientist
  • Mathematician or Statistician
  • College Administrator
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Cultural and Linguistic Preservationist

Income for Ph.D.

The median income for someone with a Ph.D. immediately upon graduation and gaining employment in their field of interest is about $80,000. That is roughly 20 percent more than a master’s degree will get a graduate. The more competitive the field, the more money there is to earn. A Ph.D. in engineering, aeronautics, technology, math or science can earn a graduate a six-figure income within the first year of employment.

Astronomer Education Requirements

An astronomer is also a scientist who studies the universe and its celestial objects to discern how the universe works. Most astronomers have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in astronomy, physics or a related field during their school career.

To get a Ph.D. in astronomy you will need more than just an advanced graduate degree. The astronomer education requirements include a proficiency in math and science in both a laboratory and observatory setting along with problem solving and critical thinking skills.

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  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicists and Astronomers
  • Princeton University: Department of Physics: Introduction to the Graduate Program
  • Boston University: PhD in Physics
  • Grad School Hub: What Is The Average Time to Obtain a Ph.D.?
  • American Astronomical Society: Planning Your Education
  • Franklin University: What is a Doctorate: Everything You Need to Know

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at

PhD in Physics

how long does phd in physics take

The PhD in Physics program at WPI covers the full spectrum of research in the field with particular emphasis on Biophysics and Nanoscience. You’ll be well positioned to lead transformative research in our state-of-the-art labs.

Value Proposition Description

Working collaboratively with world-renowned faculty and in small research groups, you’re part of the research fabric of the university. As a candidate pursuing a PhD in physics, you may choose to participate on outstanding faculty research projects such as light scattering, nanomechanics, liquid crystals, fiber optics, biophysics, order-disorder phenomena, and quantum computers.

how long does phd in physics take

Candidates pursuing a PhD in physics have the flexibility to work collaboratively on innovative faculty research endeavors and with colleagues from mathematics, computer science, or in the life sciences, but they can also develop their own tailored research approach in an area they are passionate about.

Requirements include approved courses like Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, and Advanced Electromagnetic Theory, and dissertation research, completion, and defense of the PhD thesis. PhD candidates will complete a one-year residency on campus.

We offer candidates more information about application specifics or available financial support .

Research for PhD in Physics

You’ll find significant opportunities for applied learning as your research immerses you in a stimulating collaborative community of fellow researchers and engaged faculty focused on real-world problems in medicine and health, the environment, and national defense.

Recent faculty and student research projects:  

  • The mechanical properties of materials at the nanoscale
  • Experimental studies of liquid crystal and protein interactions
  • Geometric proofs of the Kochen-Specker theorem
  • A nonlinear elliptical problem for solid oxide fuel cell electrodes

how long does phd in physics take

With specific strengths in the areas of biophysics and nanoscience, WPI’s physics program offers research opportunities that address areas from healthcare to lasers for missile avoidance systems.

how long does phd in physics take

The interdisciplinary approach to physics at WPI gives students opportunities to broaden their research and, therefore, have a wider impact with their work.

how long does phd in physics take

Physics presents opportunities for inspiring careers in areas including the environment, medicine, health, and national defense.

how long does phd in physics take

State-of-the-art facilities across the campus include the WPI Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park, and labs such as the Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM Laboratory) and the Center for Computational Nanoscience with Computer Clusters.

Physics labs at WPI use the latest, up-to-date equipment to advance researchers’ efforts. The IPG Photonics Laboratory, Atomic Force Microscopy Laboratory, and the Center for Computational Nanoscience have collaborative lab space to make groundbreaking discoveries. You’ll have access to instruments like fiber optical tweezers, traction force microscopy, and atomic force microscopy.

Faculty Profiles

Padmanabhan Aravind

In my 25 plus years at WPI, I have been actively engaged in teaching and research at a variety of levels. Our Projects Program is the place where these two activities naturally come together, and the Major Qualifying Projects (or senior theses) I have guided over the years have been among my most rewarding experiences. In the mid 1990s, I became interested in the field of Quantum Information Science, whose goal is to store information in quantum objects, such as single atoms or photons, and explore ways in which it can be harnessed to perform tasks beyond the scope of today’s computers.

Nancy Burnham

Nancy Burnham graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1987 with a Ph.D. in Physics. Her dissertation concerned the surface analysis of photovoltaic materials. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she became interested in scanning probe microscopy, in particular its application to detecting material properties at the nanoscale.

David Medich

I perform experimental and computational (Monte Carlo) research in the field of applied nuclear physics with a focus on Medical and Health Physics. Presently my research group is investigating: 1) developing a unique technique to enable ultrahigh-resolution in-vivo functional imaging using neutrons,

2) adapting Gen. IV micro-reactors as the core of a next generation research nuclear reactor which also can supply carbon-free energy to a campus, 

3) developing a 169Yb brachytherapy source to enable localized intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and,

Izabela Stroe

For me, Physics is like a sandbox. It gives me the opportunity to play and discover, test, be creative, learn something new. At the same time, I am passionate about passing the thrill of discovery to my students. Teaching is a two-way street in which both parties get enriched from each other. I welcome and embrace the partnership. I also believe that college is the biggest and best opportunity in one's life to discover one's calling and do something about it and I invite students to take full advantage of it.

Lyubov Titova

Professor Wen is an experimental biophysicist who is interested in applying physical methods to understand biological phenomena. By measuring the mechanical properties of living cells and the mechanical interaction between cells and ECM, he aims to understand how cells convert external mechanical signals to internal biochemical signals that govern cellular function, including cell morphology, migration, and differentiation. His research will help to design novel materials for wound healing, tissue engineering, and tumor treatment.

Kun-Ta Wu

Dr. Wu is an active researcher with a focus on soft matter and biophysics , which is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses physics, biology, and engineering. His work centers on the study of active fluids, which are a class of soft materials that comprise self-propelling particles capable of generating their own motion without the need for external forces or energy sources. Dr.

Refer a Friend

Do you have a friend, colleague, or family member who might be interested in Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) graduate programs? Click below to tell them about our programs.

Earn a PhD in Applied Physics Instead

Are you interested in taking a multidisciplinary approach to physics? Open your career possibilities and use a combination of practical and applied physics, mathematics theories, and engineering principles with our PhD in applied physics . The applied physics PhD program gives students the in-depth exposure to active projects that lead to big contributions in the field. Do you first need to earn your master’s in applied physics ? Learn how to create new breakthroughs and make real impact on the world with a master’s in applied physics at WPI. Maybe you’re interested in a traditional physics pathway? Explore our master’s in physics which combines theoretical knowledge of physics principles with cutting-edge research.

Make Groundbreaking Discoveries Now

Are you ready to make new explorations and contribute new, groundbreaking advances in the field? Maybe you have specific questions like is a physics PhD worth it or what does a PhD in physics do. Perhaps you’re curious about how long a PhD takes or the salary outcomes or how long does it take to get a PhD in physics. Better yet, what types of jobs with a physics PhD can you expect? Explore our career outlook for physics where you’ll find answers to all of your important questions or get in touch with us. WPI physics graduates have obtained jobs at companies like Google, Raytheon Company, and even BAE Systems. Open your career possibilities and build your network by pursuing a PhD at WPI.

Just Starting Your Academic Path? Look at WPI’s Physics Bachelor’s Degree

Are you thinking about pursuing a career in the physics industry and want to gain an understanding of physics principles? Our degree in physics applies physics principles with engineering problems so students can gain hands-on experience. You’ll have the option to focus on specific areas like nanoscience or biophysics and solve real-world scientific problems. Maybe you’re more intrigued by combining physics and math theories with engineering design and applying it to real-world problems? Our degree in applied physics blends physics, engineering, and mathematics so students can apply theories to practical devices and systems.

Expand Your Understanding of Physics and Related Fields

If you’re just starting to think about how physics might help you in the future, WPI has many options to explore this most fundamental science. If your designated major is in another field, but you realize a foundation in physics will help your academic path, a minor in physics provides a good foundation. With a minor in physics , you’ll sharpen your critical thinking while also gaining a wider perspective on problems.  On a more targeted level, your interests may lead you to a minor in nanoscience . This minor gives you opportunities to study how devices, materials, molecules, and living matter all behave on the most minute level. As with the study of physics in general, this minor gives you knowledge you’ll apply to almost any field. Are you more of a space fan? WPI’s minor in astrophysics lets you study all the physics behind celestial properties from space travel to the structures of space itself or even the varying environments on planets. Your new knowledge about astrophysics can be used in many fields and career paths, but you’ll also gain a new appreciation for your understanding of the night sky. Is your science or engineering track leading you to nuclear science? WPI’s certificate in nuclear science & engineering prepares you for a range of jobs that touch on nuclear science. You’ll find this certificate imparts knowledge you can apply to industry, research, academia, or health care.

Are You a Physics Educator Looking for a Program to Match Your Goals?

Physics educators find their needs for a master’s degree are specific and targeted to education goals in their classrooms. If you’re a physics educator and ready to earn an advanced degree, WPI’s Physics for Educators master’s degree (MPED) will jump start your excitement for physics again and reenergize your teaching plans. If you’re simply looking for a way to improve your skills and get your students excited about new concepts, experiments, and discussions, this master’s degree program is going to bring your lesson plans to life and make even the more advanced physics concepts more accessible. You’ll find a new joy in physics and will be able to use what you’ve learned in the program and pass that excitement to your students.

WPI is proud to be the recipient of not one, but two National Science Foundation Research Traineeship programs. The programs provide exceptionally talented graduate students with specialized training and funding assistance to join careers at the forefront of technology and innovation. The programs are for graduate students in research-based master's and doctoral degree programs in STEM. Learn more .

The BioPoint Program for Graduate Students has been designed to complement traditional training in bioscience, digital and engineering fields. Students accepted into one of the home BioPoint programs will have the flexibility to select research advisors and take electives in other departments to broaden their skills. BioPoint curriculum is designed to be individual, interactive, project-focused and diverse, and includes innovative courses, seminars, journal clubs and industrial-based projects. Learn more .

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PhD in Physics

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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 creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication;
  • a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice;
  • the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems;
  • a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry; and
  • the development of a PhD thesis for examination that they can defend in an oral examination and, if successful, graduate with a PhD.

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. 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.

See further the  Postgraduate Admissions Events  pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time, 4-7 years part-time, study mode : research, doctor of philosophy, department of physics, course - related enquiries, application - related enquiries, course on department website, dates and deadlines:, lent 2024 (closed).

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

Easter 2024 (Closed)

Michaelmas 2024, easter 2025, funding deadlines.

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physics

Welcome to Cornell University: Any person, any study.

A Flexible, Interdisciplinary Curriculum

The Ph.D. program in the graduate field of Applied Physics is a research-oriented doctoral program tailored to individual interests. The program combines a core physics curriculum with research and study in one of several areas that deal either with the application of physics to a technical discipline or with the interface between physics and another area of science. Students who have majored in physics, in another physical science (for example, chemistry), or in an engineering field are eligible for the program.

The program is designed so that students can evaluate the many different research opportunities available before deciding on an area of specialization. Although most students join the research group of a faculty member in the graduate field of applied physics students may also join a group outside applied physics—a reflection of the tremendous flexibility offered to our graduate students—and begin their thesis research by the end of the first academic year. Most students complete the program under their original faculty supervisor, but if a student should decide to change research groups, the decision is subject only to the agreement of a new thesis supervisor.

Students in applied physics may pursue thesis research in any one of several broad areas, including nanoscience, condensed matter physics and materials science, optical physics, quantum electronics and photonics, biological physics, astrophysics and plasma physics, or atomic, molecular, and chemical physics.

There are 19 faculty members in AEP as well as nearly thirty other faculty members representing ten different departments outside the school which comprise the applied physics field faculty. This large faculty, engaged in many research projects with federal, state, or corporate sponsors, makes it possible for applied physics students to choose thesis research topics from many different areas. While each student becomes an individual investigator responsible for an independent research project, interactive and collaborative research programs and shared research facilities are hallmarks of advanced study at Cornell. The majority of the faculty members in the field participate in one or more of Cornell’s numerous research centers and programs, and most graduate students in applied physics make extensive use of the research facilities maintained by these centers.

Special Committee

Students entering the Applied Physics program begin by taking courses that will meet core requirements. During the first year of study, students choose a major area within applied physics for study and thesis research and a minor area of study that is outside the field of physics or applied physics. Students then choose a special committee of three or four faculty members who will supervise their graduate program and monitor the progress of their thesis research. Ultimately, this faculty committee also approves a student’s thesis. Generally, the chair of the committee is the supervisor of the student’s thesis project, the second member is from the student’s major area of study in applied physics, and the third member represents the minor area of study (as does the optional fourth member). With guidance from this faculty committee, the student plans an individualized course of study that will fulfill the core curriculum and minor subject requirements and will provide the groundwork for full-time thesis research in a particular area of specialization.

  • Research Areas

Graduates with doctorates in applied physics pursue careers in academic institutions, corporate and national laboratories, and research institutes. In recent years: 


  • School of Physics
  • Study with us

PhD studies in Physics

Start your research career in physics here. Our PhD students work on cutting-edge research at the frontier of physics. Join them!

Research projects for PhD and Masters by Research students

The University's Graduate Research Opportunity Tool is a directory of PhD and Masters by Research projects – search by course, field of research or location to find a research project that you're excited to join.

Explore research opportunities

Four scenes of scientific research: a horse, an abalone floating in the ocean, a petri dish full of fungal growths, and a visualisation of light bending

What does a PhD involve?

Over 3 years (or longer if part time), you’ll complete a research project that adds key knowledge to your chosen field. You’ll write up your findings in an 80,000-word thesis.

Throughout your PhD you’ll be guided by a supervisor who’s an expert in their field.

Your research work will be supported by state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure at the School of Physics.

Be sure to read all the general information on the Doctor of Philosophy – Science , in addition to this page.

What can I study?

Some of the areas you can specialise in when you study a PhD with us are:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atomic, molecular and optical physics
  • Complex systems
  • Condensed matter physics
  • Particle physics
  • Physical bioscience
  • Quantum information.

We are one of the largest and most successful physics departments in Australia. We have world-class research programs in all areas of modern physics, with our academic staff leading a variety of projects within several Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence.

Melbourne University is consistently one of highest ranked Australian Universities in the Times Higher Education World Rankings and in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Read more about research in the School of Physics

Where will this take me?

A PhD is an essential qualification for a research career in physics. It’s also a ticket to international research opportunities.

Our graduates have a strong track record of employment, both in academia and in the private sector. They find rewarding careers in:

  • Research and teaching in universities
  • Public research organisations such as the CSIRO
  • Consulting and professional services firms
  • Commercial sectors including the defence, banking, and energy industries.

Pathways to a PhD

Our PhD students come to us after undertaking research training either:

  • In a graduate degree – for example the Master of Science (Physics)
  • As part of an undergraduate degree – for example via an honours year in the Bachelor of Science (not available at the University of Melbourne).

We're looking for outstanding students, who have a passion for working on problems at the frontier of physics, and who have developed a strong foundation from advanced graduate-level courses in physics, typically in quantum mechanics, electrodynamics and statistical mechanics.

Read more about the PhD entry requirements

How do I find a supervisor?

To find potential supervisors, browse the research areas in the School of Physics or use Find an Expert to search for keywords.

Before submitting an application, you must have the written support of a supervisor. To obtain this you should contact the supervisor directly or email the School of Physics at [email protected] . In both cases, you should provide the following documents and information:

  • Your curriculum vitae (CV)
  • All higher education transcripts
  • A brief summary of your intended area of research
  • The names of at least two prospective supervisors that align with your intended area of research.

The School will consider your past academic performance and whether there is an academic available to supervise your study.

How to apply

All the details about how to apply can be found with the general information for the Doctor of Philosophy – Science .

We offer both the Doctor of Philosophy - Science (PhD) and the Master of Philosophy - Science , but most applicants apply directly for a PhD.

Scholarships and fees

Most domestic and international students who are offered a PhD place with us will also be offered a Graduate Research Scholarship .

Receiving this scholarship means you’ll pay no tuition fees. You’ll also receive a living allowance and relocation grant (if relocating to Melbourne).

When you apply for a PhD with us, you’ll be automatically considered for a Graduate Research Scholarship. There’s no need to apply separately.

A huge variety of other scholarships are also available. Search our scholarships to find the ones you’re eligible for.

Before getting in touch, please read this page carefully, plus all the information available for the Doctor of Philosophy (Science) .

If you still have questions, we’ll be happy to help.

Email us at [email protected]

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  • Doctoral Programs

Astronomy PhD Degree

Northwestern astronomy.


Northwestern Astronomy PhD Poster

The Northwestern Astronomy PhD is designed to provide students with a broad training in astronomy while enabling them to get started quickly with their graduate research. The Astronomy PhD is a flexible program that allows students to complement their astronomy training with a selection of physics courses or courses from other quantitative disciplines such as applied mathematics, statistics, computer science or engineering relevant to their research. Please note that GRE exam scores are not accepted as part of our application process.

Students pursuing astronomy or astrophysics research in our department will benefit from the vibrant environment and opportunities offered by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Exploration in Astrophysics (CIERA).

Research and the Thesis

  • Explore Astronomy Research at Northwestern

When do students start doing research?

We encourage students to become engaged in research as early as possible in their studies. Incoming students on University Fellowship support are especially encouraged to begin part-time research in their first year. To acquaint themselves with the research opportunities in the department, most new students work with one of the faculty during the summer of their first year of graduate study. (However, there is no requirement to do so.)

When do students choose an advisor?

Students may choose a thesis advisor and/or topic at any point in their first two years.

When is the Candidacy Exam (Prospectus)?

A proposed thesis topic must be defended before a faculty committee no later than by the end of the student's fourth (4th) year at Northwestern.

How long does it take students to complete the degree?

The thesis must be defended by no later than the end of the student's ninth (9th) year at Northwestern.The median number of years to completion is five (5) years.

Can students receive their Master's degree along the way?

Yes, students may apply to receive a Master's degree en route to their PhD degree. This may be helpful on applications for outside funding.

Interdisciplinary Work

Discover the IDEAS program to learn about additional graduate training opportunities and our Certificate in Integrated Data Science.

Course Requirements

  • Selected from Astron 314/414, 321/421, 325/425, 329/429, 410, 416, 448, 449, and 451
  • This ensures that Astronomy PhD students get to know the Physics PhD students when they start at Northwestern.
  • Four (4) other 400-level quantitative science or engineering courses (including in physics or astronomy).

How long will it take to finish the required coursework?

Most of the astronomy graduate courses are offered every other year, so students will typically take 2 years to finish their course requirements.

Where are descriptions of the Astronomy courses?

See online descriptions of graduate courses and scroll to the bottom of that page to see astro courses.

Professional Development, STEM, and Outreach

Explore a wide variety of education and outreach opportunities while you are in graduate school.

How to Apply

Please note that GRE exam scores are not accepted as part of our application process.

  • Application details

Advanced Tools for Research

  • Telescope Access for Northwestern Astronomers
  • High-performance Computing at Northwestern
  • Northwestern University Research Shop

Further Questions?

Contact the Graduate Program Assistant.

Please refer to our   Resources page   for direct links to The Graduate School (TGS) for information that can guide you in your academic career.

Our Program Handbook can also answer many questions you might have.

Planet Possibility

How long does a physics PhD take?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • May 05 2023

A PhD is the highest level of education you can receive in physics, and allows you to conduct independent research into a topic that fascinates you. But, how long does it take to finish a PhD?


What does a physics PhD involve?

A physics PhD is a full-time period of research which allows you to develop your research skills, and gain in-depth knowledge in a topic that interests you. Unlike undergraduate and master’s courses, which involve a number of lectures and seminars, a PhD is primarily made up of independent research. However, you’ll typically be assigned to a research group, with a team of scientists, fellow PhD students and other academics. 

Once you choose a research topic, you’ll be assigned to a supervisor. This person will have conducted research in your chosen specialism, and will help you refine your research topic, and conduct your research. Some universities provide students with two supervisors.

A full-time PhD typically lasts three or four years, while part-time PhDs can take up to six or seven years. This timeline is dependent on how long it takes you to complete your research. Many PhD students who intend for their PhD to last three years only finish their research after four years. Luckily, most universities are flexible, and the deadline can be extended for up to four years. 

What is the structure of a physics PhD?

Once you choose a research topic, you’ll be assigned to a supervisor (some students have two). In your first year, you’ll meet with your supervisor to talk about your research proposal, and will come up with some deadlines and action items. You’ll also complete your literature review, where you evaluate existing literature to see which topics haven’t been discussed, and to make sure your PhD is original.

In your second year, you’ll conduct research and develop your thesis. This is a long essay, similar to your undergraduate dissertation. There may also be opportunities for you to present your results for publication or at conferences.

In your third (and potentially fourth year), you’ll typically switch your focus to writing your thesis. The requirements for your thesis vary between institutions; however, most physics PhD theses are around 60,000 words. 

Once you’ve finished your thesis, and it has been approved by your supervisor, you’ll submit your thesis. The final step is to complete viva voce, a three-hour spoken exam. During this, you’ll discuss the process of writing your thesis and defend your findings in front of an internal and external examiner. 

  • MSc by research

PhD, MSc by research Physics

The School of Physics at Bristol University is one of the best Physics research environments in the UK - Bristol Physics research is ranked 4 th in the UK (THE analysis of REF 2021). Our success today is built on immensely strong foundations: for more than 100 years, Bristol Physics has made major research contributions, including the discovery of the pi meson (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950) and fundamental advances in quantum mechanics.

As a research student you will be a member of the Physics Graduate School , which comprises a community of 250 students from a diverse global background, and with a great gender balance. We have strong interactions with industry, and are well connected to the unique Bristol start-up and SME community, with opportunities for placements during your research programme and joint training activities.

Our Physics Graduate School organises social and scientific events to support you, coordinates skills training in Physics, organises induction, builds a community, and helps you navigate through the University procedures. We will also support your professional development as a teacher - many of our research students take up roles as paid Graduate Teaching Assistants for part of their working week, helping to support undergraduate programmes.

The School of Physics has a world-class reputation for cohort-based research training and has over the past ten years received UK national funding for Centres of Doctoral Training in Functional Nanomaterials, Condensed Matter Physics, Quantum Engineering, Particle Physics, Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning, and Advanced Computing.

Our research degree programmes are offered across six diverse research themes . For informal discussions before making an application, prospective students are encouraged to contact either the academic lead in the research theme of interest for guidance, or the potential supervisor for project discussions.

For your application you will need a CV, a personal statement introducing yourself and outlining your motivation for research, and details of your qualifications. Please see our Admissions Statement for more information.

Research Area: Please make sure to indicate your preferred area of research at the top of your personal statement. This will help us to process the application effectively.

Choose from the research themes of the School of Physics:


Materials and Devices

Particle Physics

Quantum and Soft Matter

Quantum Engineering Technologies

Theoretical Physics

If you have already contacted a potential supervisor or are replying to a studentship advert, please indicate the potential supervisors name on the application form.

World-leading research

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK ( Times Higher Education ).

94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Entry requirements

A first degree in physics or a related subject, normally at a level equivalent to at least UK upper second-class honours, or a relevant postgraduate master's qualification.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our  profile level F.

Further information about  English language requirements and profile levels .

Fees and funding

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support .

For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (such as training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will be made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study.  Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

In each academic year, the School of Physics has a number of scholarships for PhD degrees, which are awarded competitively to candidates with the highest research potential. The type of scholarship varies according to the research theme of the PhD opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Academic Contact in the research theme of interest for more information. The School also benefits from a number of University of Bristol PGR Scholarships each year.

The School also offers a number of MScR Research Bursaries , which provide financial support for part of the costs of the MScR research degree.

We warmly welcome applications from candidates who are applying for funding in their home country, for example; your own Government scholarships, China Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships, charities.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Graduates with Bristol Physics research degrees are highly valued by employers and universities across the world, as evidenced by our research graduates working successfully in a huge variety of fields spanning finance, large corporates, high-technology start-ups, education, academia, and many more. For all these professional occupations, the skills you will gain through your research degree will be invaluable.

A Bristol Physics research degree will equip you with a unique set of skills: the ability to analyse problems; the capability to plan a project; the expertise of communicating complex ideas; the ability to work independently for periods but also to work productively as part of a team; the confidence to write technically at different levels; and an ease in presenting and speaking. Your degree will give you many opportunities to practice and refine these important skills. All of these and more are highly valued by employers looking for leadership, initiative, numeracy, and an ability to plan and execute strategically.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.

Research groups

The School of Physics has an immensely strong international reputation in a wide range of research fields. The research themes are as follows:

Academic Contact: Dr Natasha Maddox [email protected]

Researchers within the Astrophysics theme study a range of important phenomena in the Universe, including extrasolar planets, black holes and their related relativistic phenomena, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, and cosmology. Observations are made with the world's best ground- and space-based telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum. Theoretical work is closely tied to the interpretation of observational results, with numerical and computational studies making use of the University of Bristol's powerful supercomputing facilities. Students present their work to the wider scientific community at high-profile conferences and may be involved in one of the major international projects in which the group participates. The group provides a friendly and dynamic research environment. Graduate-level courses and training in observations, data reduction, and numerical techniques are offered.

Academic Contact: Dr Massimo Antognozzi [email protected]

The Materials and Devices theme covers topics that are driven by innovation and technology and the application of Physics to solve real-world problems. It exploits advances in engineered materials and devices that are crucial to the continued vitality of countless industries, and our postgraduates bridge the gap between science and engineering, becoming expert not only in their area of research but in material and device innovation in general. Key areas of research include semiconductor materials and devices, nuclear and aerospace materials, surface Physics and nanomaterials.

Specifically, the Centre for Device Thermography and Reliability (CDTR) is a world-leading group focusing on improving the thermal management, electrical performance and reliability of novel devices, circuits and packaging. The CDTR develops and applies new techniques for temperature, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity and traps analysis, especially for microwave and power electronic semiconductor devices, made of wide bandgap materials, such as GaN, SiC and diamond. The Interface Analysis Centre (IAC) engages in research on materials and material surfaces, including strong activities in nanoscience and nuclear materials. The Advanced Mechanics of Advanced Materials (EMAM) group uses unique cutting-edge techniques to investigate the deformation and fracture of a broad range of nuclear and aerospace materials ranging from nuclear graphite and ceramic-matrix composites to ultra-high temperature nuclear fuel particles and accident tolerant fuels collaborating with UK and international key players in the field.

The Nanophotonics and Biophysics area focuses on the development, application and exploitation of novel imaging and characterisation techniques for biology and medicine. A particular strength is in Scanning Probe Microscopy and biophotonics, measuring sub-femtonewton optical forces at the nanoscale at high speeds. The surface physics aspect of the work involves catalysis and electro-deposited ultrathin films.

Academic Contact: Dr Sudarshan Paramesvaran [email protected]

The Particle Physics theme is at the forefront of the data analysis and upgrade of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiments at the CERN LHC. Within CMS, the focus is on the search for Supersymmetry and Dark Matter (DM), as well as studying properties of the top quark. Within LHCb, the focus is on pioneering new methods to measure CP violation, the asymmetry between matter and antimatter, and studying rare decays of beauty hadrons in order to discover new particles and forces. The theme is also involved in future neutrino experiments such as DUNE, and direct DM detection experiments such as LZ. Furthermore, the theme participates in developing novel detector technologies and systems, including applications outside particle physics, such as homeland security and medical imaging. Bristol PhD students will usually join one of the experiments and undertake physics analysis as their main activity, and will also be involved in some aspect of the detector operation. Students can also work on new particle detector techniques using CVD diamond, novel integrated detectors, or other future experiments that the theme is actively involved in.

Academic Contact: Prof Antony Carrington [email protected]

Soft materials are those in which the thermal energy is a relevant energy scale. Soft matter has often been epitomized by colloidal particles. These follow statistical mechanics like atoms and molecules. However, colloids are readily perturbed from equilibrium. They exhibit far-from-equilibrium phenomena pivotal in the development of new non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. This revolutionises the concepts underpinning many landmarks of condensed matter.

Our aim is to find and understand new and exciting phenomena of quantum and classical matter. We are world-renowned for our research on high-temperature superconductors, solid-liquid interfaces, glasses, and proteins. Postgraduate students in our group conduct world-leading research and have made discoveries like the strange metal phase in cuprate superconductors published in the prestigious journal Nature in 2021. Our students use a wide range of experimental techniques including low temperature, high pressure (< 20 mK and up to 2 megabar), acoustic levitation, and state-of-the art optical techniques to probe phase transitions.

Academic Contact: Dr Jorge Barreto [email protected]

Quantum technologies can perform certain tasks beyond the capabilities of classical systems, such as factoring large numbers or simulating the behaviour of quantum systems. The theme explores fundamental aspects of quantum physics, as well as working towards future photonic quantum technologies, by generating, manipulating and detecting single photons and probing the quantum systems that harness these photons. Students who join the research group typically work in one of three key areas of research:

  • Quantum computing and quantum simulations
  • Quantum communications
  • Quantum sensing and metrology

Students can explore a range of theory and experimental topics to devise and demonstrate new devices and protocols for quantum information processing, including quantum simulations, quantum computing and quantum key distribution.

Academic Contact: Dr Stephen Clark [email protected]

Theory is an essential complement to experimental physics, guiding and interpreting real-world results. Bristol has a very distinguished heritage in theoretical physics, including the discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm effect in 1959 and the geometric or Berry phase in 1983. In soft condensed matter we apply methods from algebraic and geometric topology to study solitons, topological defects, and other structures in liquid crystals. Furthermore, we are interested in novel computational techniques applied to topological phase transitions and machine-learning methods applied to problems in statistical physics. Our condensed matter research focuses on unconventional and novel phases in the spin, charge, and superconducting order of complex materials. In particular, we predict experimental observables, such as electronic, thermodynamic and transport properties induced by symmetry-breaking transitions, as well as the behaviour of many-body systems driven far from equilibrium. Our quantum information research focuses on fundamental problems, such as paradoxes and nonlocality, to understand why quantum mechanics has the counterintuitive properties it does. We are also interested in the foundations of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics applied to small quantum systems.

How to apply

Apply via our online application system. For further information, please see the guidance for how to apply on our webpages.

We welcome applications at any time of year. However, for opportunities linked to School of Physics funds, it is advised the application should be with us before the end of the calendar year.

Dr Terry McMaster, Director of the Graduate School

Faculty of Science

School of Physics

Explore more

Find out about the bristol doctoral college.

Department of Physics and Astronomy

how long does phd in physics take

Ph.D. in Astrophysics Requirements Guide

Course Requirements | Beyond the For-Credit Curriculum | The Qualifying Examination | The Ph.D. Dissertation

Course Requirements

The Graduate School requires a total of 72 hours of credit (formal coursework plus registered research hours) prior to receiving the Ph.D. Within these 72 credit hours, the Department of Physics and Astronomy requires 28 hours of formal coursework 1 including:

  • Five core courses covering the foundations of astrophysics, as detailed below, totaling 16 credit hours
  • Additional graduate-level courses to make a total of 12 credit hours in any subject relevant to the student’s overall program of graduate study and research
  • A minimum of two semesters of Teaching Practicum (ASTR 8002) to be taken before the Qualifying Examination. This is a zero-credit course
  • Four semesters of astrophysics seminars (ASTR 8003) to be taken before the Qualifying Examination. This is a zero-credit course

A student must earn a grade of B or higher in each course counted towards these 28 hours. A student must earn a satisfactory grade (“S”) in ASTR 8002 and 8003.

Core courses provide the basic foundation for research. There are three ways to satisfy each core course requirement:

  • Take and pass the course with a grade of B or higher
  • Take and pass an alternate written exam on the material covered by that particular course; or
  • Transfer the credit from a similar approved course that was taken at a different institution

A student who receives a B- or lower grade in any core course has a second chance to meet the course requirement either by retaking the course a single time or by taking and passing the corresponding alternate written exam. Note that exceptionally well-prepared incoming students may take and pass one or more of the alternate written exams to place out of the corresponding core course(s). A failure to pass the exam before the respective course is taken is not going to count against the two chances to satisfy the course requirement. Students who, due to a repeated low course grade or failure on the alternate written exam, fail to satisfy any one of the core course requirements may be dropped from the Ph.D. program at the discretion of the GPC in astrophysics. Students who receive a B- or lower in more than one core course may also be dropped from the Ph.D. program at the discretion of the GPC in astrophysics.

Transfer Credit  

Students who have taken graduate courses elsewhere may petition the GPC in astrophysics to have those courses evaluated for transfer credit to avoid unnecessary duplication and speed up the student’s entry into research.

Astrophysics Core Course Requirements

  Students must complete these courses in the first two years of graduate study:

  • ASTR 8010: Radiative Processes in Astrophysics
  • ASTR 8030: Stellar Astrophysics
  • ASTR 8040: Structure and Dynamics of Galaxies
  • ASTR 8050: Structure Formation in the Universe
  • ASTR 8001: Order of Magnitude Astrophysics

The first four of these are three-credit courses. Order of Magnitude Astrophysics is a single-credit class and must be taken every semester before the Qualifying Exam is passed. This adds up to 16 credit hours of astrophysics core courses.

Elective Courses

  The remaining 12 credit hours of formal coursework may be filled from any graduate-level courses that are appropriate for the student’s program. Examples are any 8000-level ASTR or PHYS courses. All elective credits taken must be approved by the student’s adviser or the GPC in astrophysics.

Teaching Experience

Teaching experience is an important component of graduate students’ education and their preparation for future careers. All students must take ASTR 8002: Teaching Practicum for a minimum of two semesters before the Qualifying Exam is passed. Typically, graduate students in astrophysics would teach for four to six semesters during their first few years of study. Teaching assistants are generally assigned about 15 hours per week of work for duties such as grading, leading lab sections, and meeting with students. Teaching assistants are not expected to be “instructors of record”, i.e., to have the responsibility for preparing an entire course, syllabus, lectures, course materials, etc. However, in exceptional circumstances, students in advanced standing may request this opportunity by petitioning the GPC.

Astrophysics Seminars

Attending colloquia, seminars, journal clubs, and other research-focused community events are a vital component of graduate education. All students must take ASTR 8003: astrophysics seminars four semesters before the Qualifying Exam is passed. To successfully complete this class, students must attend a minimum number of Physics Colloquia, Astronomy Journal Clubs, and Astronomy Lunches. Moreover, students must give a formal presentation in Astronomy Journal Club. These events are described in more detail in Beyond the For-Credit Curriculum section.

Research Hours  

In addition to taking formal courses, students in their first two years of study are expected to be making progress in research projects under the supervision of a research adviser. In consultation with their adviser, students should normally enroll in ASTR 8999: Non-candidate Research for as many credit hours as they need up to the maximum of 13 credit hours per semester.

After passing the Qualifying Examination, students should enroll in up to 13 credit hours of ASTR 9999: Dissertation Research each semester, until they have completed the 72 credit hours required by the Graduate School. After completing 72 credit hours, students should continue enrolling in ASTR 9999 each semester for zero credit hours.

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Beyond the For-Credit Curriculum

The training of Ph.D. candidates in astrophysics goes beyond formal coursework and the doctoral research project. The astrophysics program runs several informal activities that are aimed at giving students experience with giving professional talks and reading the scientific literature. All students are expected to attend these events regularly (required in the first two years as part of ASTR 8003). These events are:

  • Journal Club: All graduate students in this program are expected to attend a weekly, one-hour journal club. At each Journal Club meeting, one or two students make a presentation, explaining a recently published paper in the astrophysical literature. Each student is expected to make at least one presentation at Journal Club each semester. In this forum, students gain experience in presenting research to an audience and receive feedback from faculty and their peers on their presentation.
  • Astro Lunch: All graduate students in this program are expected to attend a weekly one-hour lunch meeting at which the group informally discusses recently published or submitted papers.
  • Department Colloquium: The Department of Physics and Astronomy holds weekly, late afternoon colloquia during the academic year. All graduate students in this program are expected to attend all colloquia with an astrophysics orientation and at least a selection of other colloquia.
  • National and International Meetings: All graduate students in this program are expected to attend national and/or international astrophysics conferences during their tenure as graduate students. Students are especially expected to attend conferences at which they will make research presentations.

The Qualifying Examination

To be awarded the Doctoral Degree in Astrophysics a student must write and defend a dissertation that presents the results of independent research. To progress to that point, each student must first pass the Qualifying Examination to become a doctoral candidate. According to the Graduate School Catalog , “the purpose of the Qualifying Examination is to test the student’s knowledge of the field of specialization, to assess familiarity with the published research in the field, and to determine whether the student possesses those critical and analytical skills needed for a scholarly career.”

In the astrophysics program, the Qualifying Examination requires each student to independently write and orally defend a research proposal. The topic is of the student’s choosing, and may be the same as her/his current research. The Qualifying Examination is administered by the student’s Ph.D. Committee and only the committee members and the student are present. Passing the Qualifying Examination marks the student’s formal entry into dissertation research under the supervision of her/his dissertation adviser and the Ph.D. Committee. 2 The Qualifying Exam should not be seen as a hurdle, but as an important part of one’s training to become an independent scientist.

Ph.D. Committee

The Ph.D. Committee administers the Qualifying Examination and subsequently monitors the student’s progress toward the completion of the dissertation. The committee comprises at least four members of the graduate faculty. To ensure consistency among Qualifying Examinations, at least one member of the committee should be a current or recent member of the GPC in astrophysics. In addition, by Graduate School rule, at least one member of the committee must be from outside the astrophysics program. This external committee member may be a member of the physics faculty at Vanderbilt, a faculty member from a different department at Vanderbilt, or it may be a faculty member or equivalent at another university or National Lab. One of the committee members serves as the committee chair. While this is often the student’s research adviser, this does not need to be the case. The composition of the committee is delivered to the DGS in astrophysics by the adviser in consultation with the student for certification of compliance with the above rules.

Preparing For The Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination in the department is taken during the fourth semester (under exceptional circumstances, a student may petition the GPC to delay the Qualifying Exam until as late as the sixth semester 3 ). The Qualifying Examination is offered in just one annual cycle culminating in the oral examination by mid-May. By Graduate School rules, students taking the oral Qualifying Exam must have completed all requirements of the Graduate School for formal coursework (24 credit hours) at the actual time of the oral exam with a GPA of 3.0 or better in all courses taken for credit. However, in order for the student to advance to candidacy, a student must first complete all the course requirements for the astrophysics Ph.D. program.

The steps needed to prepare for the Qualifying Examination are:

  • The student should get involved in research as soon as possible – certainly no later than the summer after the first year of study. To begin by summer, the student should interview potential faculty advisers no later than the spring of the first year to identify those with space to take on a summer research assistant. During the first two years of study, a student may explore research opportunities in several groups, but she/he must select a faculty Ph.D. adviser at least one semester before an anticipated Qualifying Exam date.
  • The student and the adviser agree on the members of the Ph.D. Committee, including who will serve as chair of the committee. The student then contacts members of the committee to ascertain their willingness to serve. Once the composition of the Ph.D. Committee is decided and all the proposed committee members have agreed to serve, the adviser completes the Request to Appoint Committee form to the DGS for certification and notification of the Graduate School. The committee membership should be finalized and the form submitted by February 1.
  • The student prepares a one-page abstract that outlines the proposal’s research topic, hypothesis, and specific aims. The student may discuss potential topics with her/his adviser, but the abstract itself must be the student’s completely independent work; there should be no editing of the abstract by anyone other than the student for any reason. This abstract should be submitted electronically (.pdf preferred) to the DGS in astrophysics. The exact due date will be set by the DGS, but will be approximately February 15.

The abstract will be reviewed by the GPC in astrophysics, focusing on the following questions:

  • Is the research topic appropriate?
  • Is the hypothesis well-formed and testable?
  • Is the scope sufficiently focused (doable during a typical graduate career of three to four years)?

The GPC will provide the student with written feedback on the appropriateness of her/his proposal in approximately one week. The student will then revise the abstract and resubmit it to the DGS and to all members of the student’s Ph.D. Committee. The exact due date will be set by the DGS, but will be approximately March 1.

The student’s Ph.D. Committee will perform a similar review of the abstract and determine whether it provides an adequate basis for a full If so, the committee will provide additional written feedback and inform the student to begin preparing the full proposal. If not, the committee will provide written feedback and require the student to submit a revised abstract within two weeks.

After receiving permission to prepare the full proposal, the student should contact all committee members to set a date for the oral Qualifying Examination. The student is advised that getting a committee of four to five faculty persons to be available simultaneously in time and space is not a trivial task! During the annual exam cycle, the oral exam should be scheduled for the last two weeks of April or the first two weeks of May. Only in extraordinary circumstances should the exam be delayed beyond this point. Once a date is agreed upon, the adviser notifies the DGS and Graduate School no later than three weeks before the proposed date. Note that the Graduate School issues the notice of the examination at least two weeks in advance.

Regardless of when the oral Qualifying Examination is scheduled, the written proposal must be submitted to the DGS and the student’s Ph.D. Committee by a specific date. This date will be set by the DGS, typically April 1, and will be the same for all students taking the exam during a specific cycle. The written proposal must not exceed eight pages (single-spaced, 12-pt font). Within this space, the proposal should have four sections:

  • Rationale or Background & Significance: This section provides background information and justification for the proposal. An important part of preparing the proposal is a thorough review of the current literature. This review should be concisely summarized here.
  • Hypothesis: This short section (~one paragraph) should describe the specific hypothesis to be tested.
  • Specific Aims or Research Objectives:  This section will largely follow the previously approved abstract, but the student can make changes as she/he more fully develops the proposal.
  • Research Plan: This section should detail the experimental/theoretical plan to meet the specific aims. The student is advised to number the specific aims and use the same numbering scheme for subsections of the Research Plan. This section should describe the experimental/theoretical strategies and design, but it should not provide the sort of detailed Materials & Methods section one would find in a journal article. This section should sketch anticipated outcomes and some discussion of how the plan might be adjusted with different outcomes.

The student’s Ph.D. Committee will review and evaluate the written proposal. This evaluation will be completed at least two days before the scheduled oral examination. If the written proposal is deemed adequate, then the oral examination will proceed as scheduled; however, if the committee identifies serious deficiencies in the written proposal, then the oral exam will be postponed. If postponed, the scheduled exam time will be used for the committee to provide constructive criticism to the student on how she/he can address the identified deficiencies. The student will then have two weeks to submit a revised proposal and reschedule the oral examination as soon as possible.

During the oral Qualifying Examination, the student defends her/his research proposal. The exam is limited to a maximum of two hours. The student is allotted a maximum of 15 minutes to provide an overview of the proposal. This is a strict limit, so committee members are asked to restrict questions to points of clarification during the student’s presentation. The remainder of the two hours is reserved for the committee to ask questions in which the student should be prepared to discuss the general background of the proposal and its significance; to discuss relevant experimental approaches, including their theoretical bases and limitations; to outline anticipated results; and to interpret the meaning of these results. The student should be particularly prepared to discuss the interpretation of alternative results proposed by the committee. Although the primary focus of the questions will be on the research proposal, the committee may and likely will probe into the student’s core knowledge of astrophysics.

In contrast to the rules for the written proposal, students are strongly encouraged to prepare for the oral examination by gathering student peers for mock oral exams. Copies of the student’s prepared slides must be made available to the committee members at least one working day before the examination. By rule of the Graduate School, attendance at the Qualifying Examination is limited to only the Ph.D. Committee members and the student. The committee will decide within one day whether the student has passed the Qualifying Examination.

Within one week, the adviser will provide a written report to the student and to the GPC describing the student’s performance on the examination. Even if the student was judged to have passed the examination, the report should address any deficiencies in preparation that were evident during the examination. If the student was judged to have failed the examination, the report should note the serious deficiencies that caused this failure; the committee may also offer their judgment on whether retaking the examination would be in the best interest of the student. A second attempt at passing the Qualifying Examination may be made by the student within three months of the date of the failed examination. By Graduate School rule, only two attempts are allowed to pass the Qualifying Examination.

The Ph.D. Dissertation

After passing the Qualifying Examination, the student is officially admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. He/she will develop a topical focus for the Ph.D. dissertation grounded in the subfield chosen for that examination. The dissertation topic should be an original research proposition that advances the frontiers of science in the field of specialization. While consultation with the adviser will be crucial to this process, it is to be emphasized that the proposal for the dissertation is the responsibility of the student. Within two semesters of passing the Qualifying Examination, the student will present a specific proposal to the Ph.D. Committee.

This proposal can be, and likely should be, based on the proposal that the student successfully defended during her/his Qualifying Examination. At this stage, the proposal should contain at the minimum a chapter-by-chapter outline of the dissertation, a report on the research already carried out, and a specific plan for completing the remainder. As a general rule, students should plan to complete the dissertation within three years of passing the Qualifying Examination, so that the dissertation can be submitted five to six years after entering the Graduate School. By Graduate School rule, all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must be completed within four years of passing the Qualifying Examination.

Annual Meetings of the Ph.D. Committee

After the dissertation topic is approved, the student will meet with the Ph.D. Committee at least annually to report on research completed to date, publications planned or in progress, and an estimate of the time, resources and analysis that are required to complete the dissertation project. The committee members may ask questions, critique the work presented by the student, or make suggestions about the project. The Chair of the Ph.D. Committee (usually the Ph.D. adviser) is responsible for preparing a brief written report of the meeting that will be sent to the candidate and to the DGS. This report may also be reviewed by the GPC as it monitors student progress.

Publication Requirements

The research in any dissertation project is expected to contribute measurably to scientific progress in the field of specialization; thus, publication in peer-reviewed journals is an essential component of the Ph.D. research program. While the venue, number, and timing of publications vary according to the subfield, students should expect to play a major role in a first paper no later than the end of the third year of graduate study. By the time the dissertation is completed, the student must present to the Ph.D. Committee at least one paper in which they played the primary role and that has been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. Most students are expected to have more than one such paper published or accepted for publication at the time of the dissertation defense.

Completion of the Dissertation and the Ph.D. Defense

The Graduate School website gives essential information about the timing and format of the Ph.D. dissertation and the defense. According to Graduate School rules, the defense must take place no later than four years after the student passes the Qualifying Exam and advances to candidacy. Students may petition the Graduate School for an extension; however, financial support from the Graduate School is unlikely past the fourth year of candidacy. The defense is a public examination, and should be characterized by a spirited scientific debate on the strengths and weaknesses of the dissertation presented by the student. In addition, the Department of Physics and Astronomy stipulates the following:

  • The Ph.D. adviser will inform the Dean of the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance of the date and place of the defense so that the event can be published in the Vanderbilt University electronic calendar. The department administrative staff will advertise the dissertation title, date, and place of the defense in order to promote attendance by faculty, research staff, and other students.
  • The Ph.D. candidate must present a complete copy of the dissertation to the committee members at least two weeks before the defense. This is both a departmental and Graduate School requirement.
  • At the defense, the candidate will present the critical points of the dissertation for no more than 45 minutes; during this presentation, questioning will be generally restricted to matters of clarification. After the presentation is finished, questioning by attendees other than the Ph.D. Committee will be permitted for about half an hour.
  • After the public questioning is concluded, the Ph.D. Committee will continue the questioning of the candidate in executive session for up to an hour. The Ph.D. Committee will then caucus in private to evaluate the defense and decide the outcome.

The possible outcomes for the defense are:

  • Pass conditional upon changes made to the dissertation recommended by members of the committee, or

In case two, the committee may grant discretion to the principal adviser to enforce that the recommended changes are made. The members may sign the paperwork certifying completion of a passing dissertation, but the adviser will submit the committee’s report to the Graduate School only after the changes made are satisfactory in the opinion of the adviser.

 Applying for Fellowships

There are several national fellowships and external awards that provide support for graduate students in their studies.

These fellowships come with many tangible benefits for students:

  • they allow students to focus fully on research right from the start;
  • they are prestigious and strengthen students’ CVs;
  • they provide valuable experience in planning and writing grant proposals. Graduate students are expected to apply for one or more of these opportunities.

Some example programs are the NSF GRFP (deadline: late October), NASA JPFP (deadline: early February), NASA ASTAR (deadline: early May).

Important Milestones and Checklist

This is a list of all the important milestones that students reach while they are in the astrophysics Ph.D. program. All forms that are required may be downloaded from the Graduate School website .

1 The Graduate School requires only 24 credit hours of formal coursework. The departmental requirement is higher because of the number and breadth of core courses required to properly prepare for a career in astronomy. Additional coursework may be recommended by a student’s adviser. Return to text 2 Advancing to candidacy makes one eligible to register for dissertation research credit hours (ASTR 9999). Return to text 3 The Graduate School requirement is that the Qualifying Examination must be passed by the end of the eighth semester. Postponing it beyond this time does not allow for the completion of an acceptable dissertation project in the desired degree time frame of approximately five years. Return to text

The collapsed Baltimore bridge didn't stand a chance against such a huge cargo ship, engineers say

  • Engineering experts sought to explain how the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed.
  • They centered on one factor: the sheer size of the cargo ship that hit it.
  • Faced with such momentum, a total collapse was inevitable, they said.

Insider Today

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore stood no chance against the huge impact from a cargo ship Tuesday morning, engineering experts told Business Insider.

The bridge was destroyed in the early hours of Tuesday, collapsing in a violent fashion after a large cargo ship, the Dali, hit one of its support pillars.

This video shows the impact:

BREAKING: Ship collides with Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing it to collapse — BNO News (@BNONews) March 26, 2024

Understanding why and how the bridge collapsed could have big implications for safety, both in the cargo shipping industry and in civil engineering.

The physics of the impact are "pretty clear," said Leroy Gardner, a professor of structural engineering at Imperial College London.

"There's a heavy impact from a cargo ship into one of the piers," he said in a call with BI. "Once that collapsed, then the rest of the bridge followed soon after."

Experts told BI it was unlikely that any defects in the bridge's structure were relevant to the collapse, given the scale of the impact.

The Dali is a substantial vessel, 300 meters long and with a gross tonnage of roughly 95,000, according to the website .

It's of comparable size and weight to a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the US Navy. The Dali was almost as tall as the bridge it was trying to pass under.

"All bridge piers will be designed to resist impact from a vessel. And I think this will be unquestionably no exception to that," Gardner said.

"I think it's the magnitude of the force in this case, which is extremely unusual, which has caused the problem for this bridge," he said.

Related stories

The Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977. Its design is a steel truss bridge. The bridge was resting on concrete piers before the impact, experts said based on footage shared online.

"The support is a very, relatively, flimsy structure when you look at it — it's a kind of trestle structure with individual legs," Ian Firth, a structural engineer and bridge consultant in the UK, told the BBC . "So, the bridge has collapsed simply as a result of this very large impact force."

The impact from the Dali seemed to knock out one of the concrete piers, a "critical, significant part of the bridge," Gardner told BI.

"Structures generally are typically designed to have a certain amount of robustness. So if there's damage to a small part of it, the rest of the structure can remain intact," Gardner said.

"I think losing such an important element, I would expect the entire bridge to collapse, which is what happens," he said.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the crash. It also wasn't clear from the footage how quickly the Dali was moving, experts said. It had only recently left the port.

Barbara Rossi, an associate professor of engineering science at the University of Oxford, told BI in an email that the impacting force "must have been immense to lead to these massive (concrete) structures to collapse, leaving the superstructure without one of its supports."

Long investigations are likely to follow, said Mark Richards, director of NESTA Consulting Engineers.

"It's inevitable that the engineering community will look at this and investigate what happened very carefully, to learn lessons from it — if there are lessons to be learned from it," he told BI in a call.

"The bridges are designed for events that are considered by the wider community unit of engineering to be appropriate or probable. Maybe this event just steps outside of that," he said.

"It may be that those events could not be foreseen, and so we can't forget that," he said.

In an emailed statement to BI, a Danish engineering and architecture consultancy called COWI said that bridges are not usually designed to withstand a direct impact from a ship.

Instead, engineers would create structures near the bridge supports that a ship would hit first, absorbing the impact.

Then "the failure would be linked to that and not to the bridge itself," said Lorna Wharton, Head of Press and Public Affairs for COWI.

It was not immediately clear what defenses the Francis Scott Key bridge had, the experts said. COWI and Richards said that something may have been there.

Engineers will likely be considering not only the protections for the bridge itself, but how the broader dynamics of what routes ships took under and around the bridge, the experts said.

Correction: March 27, 2024 — An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the cargo ship that hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge. It has a gross tonnage of around 95,000, not a mass of around 95,000 tons.

Watch: The container ship that destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge has crashed before

how long does phd in physics take

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  1. How Long Does It Take To Get a PhD?

    how long does phd in physics take

  2. PhD in Physics: Time to Completion

    how long does phd in physics take

  3. How long, on average, does it take to obtain a PhD in Physics?

    how long does phd in physics take

  4. Years of Graduate Study to Earn a Physics Doctorate

    how long does phd in physics take

  5. The Importance Of A PhD in Physics

    how long does phd in physics take

  6. How Long Does It Take To Get a PhD?

    how long does phd in physics take


  1. PHD

  2. How to get a PhD in Theoretical Physics⁉️ Michio Kaku #physics #science #phd

  3. another PhD decisions reaction video


  5. Physics PhD defense Superconducting Electronics

  6. Unlocking New Perspectives Challenging Stereotypes Through Research backed Discussions #comments


  1. Doing a PhD in Physics

    How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Physics? The typical full-time programme has a course length of 3 to 4 years. Most universities also offer part-time study. The typical part-time programme has a course length of 5 to 7 years. The typical Physics PhD programme sees PhD students study on a probationary basis during their first year.

  2. PhD in Physics, Statistics, and Data Science » MIT Physics

    In addition to satisfying all of the requirements of the Physics PhD, students take one subject each in probability, statistics, computation and statistics, and data analysis, as well as the Doctoral Seminar in Statistics, and they write a dissertation in Physics utilizing statistical methods. ... Yes, this is possible, as long as the courses ...

  3. How to Get a Ph.D. in Physics (with Pictures)

    You do not need to be a genius to get a PhD. Graduate school is hard work, but success depends on your dedication more than on your ability. 2. Work on your GREs. Like undergraduate, you'll often need to take entrance exams to get into a graduate program. The GRE is the main test to take in the United States.

  4. Graduate Admissions » MIT Physics

    Thank you for considering the PhD program in Physics at MIT. Information regarding our graduate program and our application process can be found below and through the links on this page. ... A panel of our graduate students hosted a 2-hour long Zoom webinar in late October of 2022 to present information about the application and admissions ...

  5. How Long Does a PhD in Physics Take?

    The first two to three years of a doctoral program typically concentrate on a base of required classes with a sprinkling of elective courses. The research components of the classes can eat up a graduate student's time. A Ph.D. in physics has a duration of about five years. A doctorate degree can be obtained in about this amount of time ...

  6. Requirements for a Doctorate in Physics

    TIMEFRAME. Submit Plan of Study for approval by Graduate Option Rep. By end of first term. Complete 2 terms of Phys 242 Course. Fall & Winter Term of first year. Complete Basic Physics Requirement by passing the. Written Candidacy Exams. By end of second year. Complete the Advanced Physics Requirement.

  7. Choosing physics: Postgraduate study (PhD ...

    A PhD is a research degree you can complete after your Bachelor's or Master's degree. The PhD bit actually stands for Doctor of Philosophy, and it's also sometimes called a doctorate. You usually spend three or four years reading up about a topic, conducting original research under the guidance of a supervisor (or supervisors) and ...

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  9. Physics PhD Degree

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  10. PhD in Physics

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  11. Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Physics

    A Flexible, Interdisciplinary Curriculum. The Ph.D. program in the graduate field of Applied Physics is a research-oriented doctoral program tailored to individual interests. The program combines a core physics curriculum with research and study in one of several areas that deal either with the application of physics to a technical discipline ...

  12. PhD studies in Physics

    What does a PhD involve? Over 3 years (or longer if part time), you'll complete a research project that adds key knowledge to your chosen field. You'll write up your findings in an 80,000-word thesis. Throughout your PhD you'll be guided by a supervisor who's an expert in their field.

  13. phd

    If you do have a GPA of 3.8 or higher, then that's fantastic, but even if it's as low as, say, 3.3, you'll probably still have a good chance of admission to many PhD programs in the US as long as the rest of your application is reasonably strong.

  14. Astronomy PhD Degree: Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Two (2) 400-level physics courses. All students must take Phys 411-0: Classical Mechanics during their first quarter at Northwestern. This ensures that Astronomy PhD students get to know the Physics PhD students when they start at Northwestern. Four (4) other 400-level quantitative science or engineering courses (including in physics or astronomy).

  15. PhD-holding physicists of Reddit, was it worth it? : r/Physics

    philomathie. •. Statistically the salaries after a PhD are lower than after a master's, and that's not even considering the years of lost experience. You don't get a PhD to earn more money. Reply reply. jfuite. •. I expect this is true because a PhD in physics commits you more to physics, which is low pay.

  16. How long does a physics PhD take?

    A full-time PhD typically lasts three or four years, while part-time PhDs can take up to six or seven years. This timeline is dependent on how long it takes you to complete your research. Many PhD students who intend for their PhD to last three years only finish their research after four years. Luckily, most universities are flexible, and the ...

  17. Physics

    The School of Physics at Bristol University is one of the best Physics research environments in the UK - Bristol Physics research is ranked 4 th in the UK (THE analysis of REF 2021). Our success today is built on immensely strong foundations: for more than 100 years, Bristol Physics has made major research contributions, including the discovery of the pi meson (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950 ...

  18. Ph.D. in Astrophysics Requirements Guide

    All students must take ASTR 8003: astrophysics seminars four semesters before the Qualifying Exam is passed. To successfully complete this class, students must attend a minimum number of Physics Colloquia, Astronomy Journal Clubs, and Astronomy Lunches. Moreover, students must give a formal presentation in Astronomy Journal Club.

  19. How long will it take for me to get a physics PhD? I have a ...

    So there you have it 8-11 years. Good luck man. Its a great field, I work my ass off and love every minute of it. Short Version: 4 year BS in Physics, PGRE, Undergrad Research, 2 years pre candidacy coursework in grad school, 2-5 post candidacy research. 5.

  20. PhD duration in the USA

    In physics it's not uncommon for people to do their coursework, then take several years trying to get an experiment to work, then give up and start over with some other experiment, which takes several more years. At the school where I got my PhD in physics, I think about 30% of my peers took 9 years total. -

  21. How long does it take to get a Physics PhD?

    How much does a Physics PhD make? PhD Physics has a job scope in the private sector as well. The salary after PhD Physics in India in the private sector is around INR 3.5 - 5 LPA [Source: Glassdoor]. Can you get a PhD in theoretical physics? There are many benefits of receiving a PhD in Theoretical Physics.

  22. How long does it take to get a PhD in Theoretical Physics?

    Spread the love. PhD in Physics Graduation and Admission Requirements Those wishing to complete their PhD in Physics can expect it to take between four to five years and require two years of classroom study along with two to three more years of research and laboratory work for their dissertation. Table of Contents show.

  23. How long does it take to finish a phd

    In summary, the average time to complete a PhD in mathematics varies depending on the university and the individual student's preparation and progress. In the US, it typically takes 4-6 years, while in Europe it may take only 3-3.5 years. Some universities may have shorter or longer completion times, and it also depends on the student's ...

  24. Baltimore Bridge: Huge Size of Ship Made Collapse Inevitable, Experts Say

    The physics of the impact are "pretty clear," said Leroy Gardner, a professor of structural engineering at Imperial College London. ... 300 meters long and with a gross tonnage of roughly 95,000 ...

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