Physics & Astronomy

Graduate Education

Admission to the Graduate PhD Program

The Department of Physics & Astronomy invites applications for graduate study from all students who wish to pursue advanced research in Astronomy, Biological Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy Physics, Laser and Plasma Physics, Nuclear Physics, or Quantum Optics. Admission to the Graduate Program is by competitive application only. For information on how to submit an application to the graduate program, go here.

Support and Fellowships

Students admitted into the Graduate PhD Program usually receive financial support either from the Department or from external foundations. The Department offers teaching assistantships during a student's first academic year of study. Subsequently, however, students are encouraged to seek support as research assistants with one of the research groups. The Department also has Fellowships that may be awarded to supplement the base teaching or research stipends. For details on current stipends and available Fellowships, go here.

Rules, Requirements and Advice

For a discussion of the rules and requirements for pursuing a graduate degree in the Department, go here.


A minimum of one year service as a Teaching Assistant is required of all PhD graduate students. The Department views this obligation seriously and requires participation of Teaching Assistants in a special TA Training Program given at the start of each academic year. The Department also has a more in depth training program available to graduate students which offers a Certificate of College Teaching. For details of these programs, go here.

Ph.D. Theses in the Department

For a listing of Ph.D. theses written by graduate students in the Department, go here.

Joint Ph.D. Programs with Other Fields

Students may seek to combine study in Physics and Astronomy with study in a related field, leading to a joint Ph.D. degree. For further information, go here.

The M.D./Ph.D. Program

Well prepared students seeking training in both medicine and in physics should consider admission into the University's M.D./Ph.D. program, which is administered by the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and which leads to both the M.D. and the Ph.D. (Physics) degrees. An overview of the M.D./Ph.D. program may be found here. Details of the Department of Physics and Astronomy requirements for this program are summarized here.

Early Admission to the Graduate PhD Program

The Department encourages especially qualified UR undergraduates to consider applying for early admission to the Department's graduate program in the early spring of their junior year. For further information, go here.

Awards and Prizes

The Department presents a number of different awards and prizes in recognition of outstanding achievement at various stages of a graduate student career. For details of available awards and prizes, go here. For a list of graduate student recipients of these awards, go here.

Graduate Course Information

General University of Rochester Graduate Studies Information

For the University of Rochester Graduate Studies Home Page, go here.
For the Official University of Rochester Graduate Studies Bulletin, go here.

Important Dates and Deadlines

For the official Graduate Calendar of the University's Office of the Registrar, go here.


The University of Rochester and the Department of Physics & Astronomy are dedicated to addressing the problem of under-representation of women and minorities by providing a climate in which all students have the resources they need to succeed. Activities in support of female students are coordinated by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program. Activities in support of students from under-represented groups are coordinated by Beth Olivares, Director of the University's McNair Program and Director of the Kearns Center for Diversity and Leadership in Science and Engineering (, (585) 275-7531). The University's statement on diversity may be found here.

Further Information

For help or further information pertaining to any aspect of the Graduate Program, please contact the Administrative Assistant for Graduate Affairs:

Laura Blumkin
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bausch & Lomb 210
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0171
(585) 275-4356

Our graduate program is also described in the following online graduate program directories:

American Institute of Physics

Peterson's Guide