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Our Graduate Recruitment Committee (GRC) conducts a holistic review of all application materials for indicators that the applicant possesses the essential qualities that will contribute to the successful completion of our degree program. No single factor leads to either accepting or excluding an applicant from admission. Our admissions review process considers each applicant’s academic performance to date, the potential for meaningful research contributions, and persistence in and commitment to educational success.

Please note, the Department of Physics at The University of Texas at Austin no longer requires the General GRE and the GRE Subject Test in Physics (pGRE) is now optional.

Should you choose to submit the pGRE—then the personal statement section of your Statement of Purpose must also make explicit your reasons for doing so (including the ways in which you believe these scores are essential to the success of your application as a whole). If you submit such scores and you do not include this information in your Statement of Purpose, then your scores will not be considered in our review of your application.


Your Undergraduate Degree

Prior to matriculation into the Physics graduate program, the University requires all applicants to have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or an international degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in both length and rigor. International applicants should refer to this GIAC site to ensure that their educational credentials meet The Graduate School's requirements. 

No minimum undergraduate GPA is required to apply, however, in order to receive funding, the University requires a minimum of a 3.00 GPA in all upper-division or advanced course work undertaken at the undergraduate level.

No specific course work is required prior to the application for admission. Although, the educational grounding necessary for the program is the equivalent of a full undergraduate major in physics. This should include solid courses at the intermediate-level or beyond in: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, waves, thermal and statistical physics, and quantum mechanics, as well as some study of applications in the context of modern physics. If you majored in something other than physics as an undergraduate and would like help evaluating whether your background is sufficient, please see our page on this subject for more information. Additionally, research experience is not a requirement, but it is an undeniable asset.


Application (required)

Please, note that the State of Texas maintains a unified application system for all public institutions of higher education in the state at: ApplyTexas.org. All application materials are processed by GIAC prior to being referred to the Department for review. This site allows you to save your work and complete the application at your own pace.

To be considered, all applications and their accompanying materials must be submitted before the yearly application deadlines of:

  • 11:59 p.m. CDT on 1 October for Spring admission
  • 11:59 p.m. CST on 1 December for Fall admission.

We allow a grace period of precisely one (1) calendar week following each of the deadlines for the uploading of Letters of Recommendation by your recommenders.

The application fee must be paid as instructed by the GIAC website. The fee is $65 for United States citizens or permanent residents, and $90 for non-U.S. citizens. The Graduate School provides fee waivers to applicants who meet certain criteria, more information on these waivers is available here. The Department is not involved in either the fee payment or fee waiver processes.


Statement of Purpose (required)

The Statement of Purpose is not wholly equivalent to a ‘Personal Statement’ and should be no more than two pages in length. Instead, your Statement of Purpose may begin with a brief personal statement that amounts to no more than one-third (1/3) of your Statement as a whole. Please address any information that you believe your application would be incomplete without and that sheds more light on your unique potential to succeed in Physics and contribute to the University community and the field or profession.

Following, the brief personal statement, you should plan to answer—to some degree—the majority of the following questions:

  • What are your current goals and expectations for graduate school? For your future career?
  • What is your past research experience? What are your research interests? With whom might you plan to do your research at UT Physics?
  • How have your educational, research, and/or professional experiences prepared you for pursuing a graduate degree in physics?


Should you choose to submit the GRE Subject Test in Physics (pGRE) scores—then the personal statement section of your Statement of Purpose must also make explicit your reasons for doing so (including the ways in which you believe these scores are essential to the success of your application as a whole). If you submit such scores and you do not include this information in your Statement of Purpose, then your scores will not be considered in our review of your application.


Letters of Recommendation (required)

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation must be submitted via ApplyTexas. The Graduate Recruitment Committee will not review more than three (3) letters. Thus, it is essential that you choose your recommenders with the utmost care. All of your recommenders should be able to speak to your knowledge, skills, or achievements in some combination of the following broad areas: course work, research, background, and personal qualities. It is also wise to choose recommenders who have a degree of knowledge regarding your development toward graduate school over time.

The ApplyTexas application will prompt you to provide contact information for each of your recommenders as part of the “Academic References” section. Once you have submitted your application and paid the application fee, the system will then send an email to each of your recommenders containing an individualized link to an online portal where they must upload their Letter of Recommendation.

If your recommenders are unable to submit their letters through the online application, please contact GIAC at: gradref@austin.utexas.edu. Letters of Recommendation that are mailed or emailed directly to the program will not be considered.


Transcripts (required)

Official transcripts must be submitted and reviewed by GIAC. After satisfying the application fee, you must provide an official transcript from every senior college you have attended. Even if courses taken at one institution are recorded on another college's transcript, transcripts must be submitted from the institution at which the courses were taken. Failure to list all colleges on the application and provide those transcripts will be considered an intentional omission and may lead to the cancellation of your application for admission or withdrawal of your offer of admission.

Official transcripts bear the facsimile signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution. Transcripts from U.S. colleges or universities must have been produced within the last calendar year and should include the award of degree printed on the transcript unless coursework is still in progress. Transcripts written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation. We do not accept outside evaluations of foreign transcripts. Each transcript (mark sheet) should contain a complete record of studies at the institution from which it is issued (i.e., the subjects taken and grades [marks] earned in each subject).

Please note the department is not involved in the transcript process prior to application review. For submission options based on the sending institution please review this GIAC site. Questions regarding transcripts should be directed to  gradtranscript@austin.utexas.edu (Please do not send transcripts to this address).


Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Test Scores

The General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required and will not be considered as part of your application if submitted.

The GRE Subject Test in Physics (pGRE) is optional; if you choose to submit a pGRE score you must make a clear case (in your required Statement of Purpose) for why you believe it is integral to your application, otherwise, it will not be considered, as described above under “The Statement of Purpose”.

We only accept scores officially and electronically reported to The University of Texas at Austin by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), our institution code is 6882.


English Proficiency Exams (required of international applicants only)

In addition to completing the prescribed graduate admissions process, international students applying to The University of Texas at Austin must submit either an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score report demonstrating an adequate knowledge of English. The Institutional TOEFL (ITP) and the IELTS General Training, and alternatives (ex: Duolingo) are not accepted.

Scores must be sent to the university by the testing agency (self-reported scores are not accepted). The Educational Testing Service (ETS) institution code for UT Austin is 6882. There is no institutional code for the IELTS examination. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS, please use the IELTS electronic score delivery service to send your scores to the “University of Texas at Austin” account.

The minimum scores considered acceptable for admission by the Graduate School are TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT); IELTS: An overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination. Do not be discouraged from submitting an application if you do not meet these minimum scores.

International applicants who are from a qualifying country are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, applicants are exempt from the requirement if they possess a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or a qualifying countryThe requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master's—but not a bachelor's—degree from a similar institution. For more information, please visit this GIAC site.


MyStatus Website (for everyone)

The University of Texas at Austin utilizes the online MyStatus site as your hub for the remainder of your application after ApplyTexas submission. This process is electronic and centralized, as such, please do not send any application materials directly to the department.

In an effort to increase security, multi-factor authentication (Duo) will be required to access most online services that require a UT EID login. Please make sure to set up Duo prior to attempting to log in to MyStatus. Once logged on, your application will have one of the following statuses:

  • Incomplete – review list of missing application items, must be completed by the deadline!
  • In Review – application received by the department; you are now on the waitlist!
  • Admitted – have been offered admission!
  • Denied – have been denied admission.


After 1 May of every year, all remaining applications with Incomplete and In Review status begin to be closed out by the department. For more information, please email admissions@physics.utexas.edu.


Where to Find More Information (for everyone)

For more detailed information on our various research groups, please see Explore Our Graduate Program page. For additional information regarding our program as a whole, please consult the same website (including the FAQ page).

UT Application Process Overview:

  1. https://gradschool.utexas.edu/admissions/where-to-begin
    • this site provides introductory information regarding UT Austin programs and degrees offered, cost of attendance, admissions and enrollment statistics, and eligibility for admission.
  2. https://gradschool.utexas.edu/how-to-apply
    • this site helps you decide which type of application is for you and provides logistical details such as application fees & official score submission procedures.
  3. ApplyTexas
    • use this site to start your application before the deadline.
  4. MyStatus
    • this site is your portal for all application documents & status updates during the admissions process after your ApplyTexas submission. 

Please note: Admitted Master’s applicants are not awarded financial support regardless of semester.

Following your circuit through the above websites, if you then have additional questions concerning our department, its research entities, and/or the admissions process, we would be more than happy to answer them, please contact us directly at: admissions@physics.utexas.edu. In our effort to provide you with the best possible experience, when corresponding with our office always include your full name and either your Applicant ID (before submitting your application) or your EID (which you will receive after ApplyTexas submission)—the EID is always preferred.


Physics Department Contacts

Graduate Admissions Coordinator

Physics Graduate Recruitment Committee
Dierdre Shoemaker, Professor of Physics


Graduate Advisor
Richard Fitzpatrick, Professor of Physics
PMA 11.226 • (512) 560-7295

Graduate Program Coordinator
Matt Ervin
PMA 7.326 • (512) 471-1664

Physics Graduate Representatives

Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Alejandro De Lozanne, Professor of Physics