Admission Requirements Degree Requirements

Mailing Address:
Department of Physics (MC 273)
845 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607-7059

Campus Location: 2236 SES
Program Codes: 20FS0240MS (MS); 20FS0240PHD (PhD)
Telephone: (312) 996-3400
Web Site:
Head of the Department: Henrik Aratyn
Director of Graduate Studies: Christoph Grein

The Department of Physics offers work leading to degrees in Physics at both the master’s and doctoral levels. Experimental and theoretical work leading to a graduate degree is available in the following general areas: atomic, molecular, and laser physics; biophysics; condensed matter and materials physics; high-energy particle physics; and high-energy nuclear physics.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions. Prior academic work must include at least 20 semester hours of physics, including PHYS 401, 421, and 441; or the equivalents.
  • Grade Point Average At least 2.75/4.00 for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study.
  • Tests Required GRE General exam is required; GRE Physics subject exam is highly recommended, but not required.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer-based); 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required.
  • Personal Statement Required.
  • Nondegree Applicants Nondegree applicants must submit transcripts and a personal statement.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 32.
  • Course Work At least 20 hours must be at the 500-level, of which no more than 4 hours may be in PHYS 596. No more than 8 hours may be in PHYS 598 if in thesis option.
  • Required Courses: PHYS 501, 502, 511, and 512.
  • Comprehensive Examination None.
  • Thesis, Project, or Course-Work-Only Options Thesis or course work only. No other options are available.
  • Thesis: No more than 8 hours of PHYS 598 can be applied to the degree.

Doctor of Philosophy

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work At least 36 hours must be in 500-level courses, other than PHYS 596 and 599.
  • Required Courses: PHYS 501, 502, 511, 512, and 561; five semesters of PHYS 595—Graduate Seminar; and at least one complete sequence chosen from among the following: PHYS 513 and 514 or PHYS 521 and 522 or PHYS 531 and 532 or PHYS 551 and 552.
  • Examinations Departmental Qualifying Examination: Required.
  • Preliminary Examination: Required.
  • Dissertation Required.
  • Other Requirements Each student must serve as a teaching assistant for at least two semesters.