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Doctoral Programs

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers two different PhD degrees designed to best train students in their chosen discipline. For most branches of physics, students should enroll in the Physics PhD. Students interested in astronomy or astrophysics may apply for the Astronomy PhD.  Students interested in Applied Physics may apply for the Applied Physics PhD.

Are Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) required for admission?

For students applying to the Physics PhD program for fall 2023, GRE (General and Physics) scores are optional.

For students applying to the Astronomy PhD program for fall 2023, GRE (General and Physics) scores are not accepted.

For students applying to the Master's program for fall 2023, GRE (General and Physics) scores are optional.

In what fields does the Department conduct research?

The Department conducts research in astrophysics, atomic and molecular physics, biophysics, complex systems, condensed matter physics, and particle physics.

Are PhD students funded?

Yes, students are fully funded. First-year students are typically supported by 12-month fellowships, which gives them great flexibility in choosing their research specialty. Many groups offer support to students who wish to begin research in the summer before their first year. 

After the first year, students are funded as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants.

Please check out our funding page.

What opportunities are there for study outside the Department?

Our department is particularly strong in multi-disciplinary research, with joint faculty in Materials Science, Chemistry, and Electrical Engineering, and strong ties to both Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Students in certain areas may have the opportunity to spend significant amounts of time at off-campus facilities such as CERN or at astronomical observatories around the world.