PhD in Physics

The mission of the Physics PhD program offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy is to train the next generation of research physicists in academia, industry, and government. Graduates of the program will have learned to carry out independent and innovative scientific research in physics and/or astronomy.

Our faculty members are dynamic, well-known in their fields, highly productive in research, and student-oriented. Students within our program will have opportunities to pursue research in many cutting-edge fields in applied physics, astrophysics, atomic physics, atmospheric and ionospheric physics, biological physics (including neuroscience and biomedical physics), condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, materials science, nonlinear dynamics, nuclear physics, planetary science, and space weather & plasma astrophysics.

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The ETS code for GMU is 5827.

Why Pursue a PhD in Physics at Mason?

  • There are great opportunities to do cutting-edge research with more than 40 physicists and astronomers in applied physics, astrophysics, atomic physics, atmospheric and ionospheric physics, biological physics (including neuroscience and biomedical physics), condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, materials science, nonlinear dynamics, nuclear physics, planetary science, and space weather & plasma astrophysics.
  • We offer graduate teaching and research assistantships for qualified students.
  • All graduate courses are offered at times convenient for working professionals.
  • Employment opportunities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for physicists are especially good, and our MS and PhD graduates have had success in finding jobs.
  • Northern Virginia is a national center for high-technology industry and federal science laboratories, with many paid internship opportunities. Current faculty have active collaborations with several of these surrounding major government facilities, including NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Application Deadlines

  • January 1: Deadline for international applicants wanting to be considered for Graduate Assistantships
  • January 15: Deadline for domestic applicants wanting to be considered for Graduate Assistantships
  • April 15: Deadline for all applicants

Click here for further details on Graduate Admission Policies in the GMU Catalog.

You may apply online at: http://admissions.gmu.edu/ApplyNow/

To help you to plan your courses, you can download the Curriculum Overview Form [doc][pdf] when planning with your Graduate and Dissertation adviser.

Click here for the current and future schedule of required core classes and Physics and Astronomy Electives.

 

Sample Curriculum

Sample Time-Line

Graduate Assistantships

The department offers a number of Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships with tuition waivers and health benefits to incoming gradaute students. Highly exceptional PhD applicants who show outstanding promise for careers in academic research and teaching in physics and astronomy will also be considered for a limit number of prestigious graduate research fellowships (Presidential Scholarship Award and Provost Research Fellowship Award). Selection of these departmental GTA/GRA awards are typically decided in Jan/Feb of each year by the departmental Admissions Committee and our selection criteria are based upon the student’s outstanding academic achievement, his/her commitment to research, and his/her potential to succeed. For incoming graduate students, please indicate your need in your Graduate Application. For current students wanting to be considered for graduate assistantships, please contact the graduate director or the Department Chair no later than December of the preceding year.

Individual research groups within the department may have externally funded GRA positions available for qualified students. Please contact a faculty member within these research groups for further details. For general questions about the various research groups within the department, please contact the Graduate Advisor for details.

 

Program-Specific Forms

Forms are listed roughly in accordance with the progress in your degree program. Students should submit the appropriate form(s) as they reach a given stage of their progra.

Other Useful Forms and Information