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Application forms and official information regarding admission to graduate programs at The University of Texas at Austin can be obtained from the Graduate and International Admissions Center. Frequently asked questions about the process are addressed on our FAQ page.

Please note that priority admission deadlines are as follows:

  • December 1st for Fall admission
  • December 1st for Summer admission
  • October 1st for Spring admission*

* Preference for entry to the graduate program is given to Fall admission. All Fall applicants to the Ph.D. program are considered for financial support and are typically awarded a teaching assistantship. Spring applicants are not offered financial support.

The Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) requires…

  • Online Application for Admission.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. The online application allows your referees to submit their letters of recommendation online. When you list your referees on the application, you will need to enter the referees’ email addresses. They will be sent an email with directions on how to submit a recommendation letter for you. Paper Letters of Recommendation are not accepted.
  • Statement of Purpose. The online Application Status Check page allows you to enter your Statement of Purpose or to upload it in a variety of formats. Please note that this is a Statement of Purpose and not a Personal Statement, and compose it accordingly. Paper Statements of Purpose are not accepted.
  • Official GRE General Test Scores. (Sent electronically by the Educational Testing Service; the ETS code for the University of Texas at Austin is 6882.) Please be sure to include your Physics Subject Test Scores. Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on prospective applicants, this requirement has been waived until further notice.
  • Official Transcripts. Transcripts from any university or college attended are now uploaded via the online Applications Status Check page.
  • Certification of Financial Responsibility. (For international applicants only.) This form is not filled out until you are offered and have accepted admission.
  • TOEFL Scores. (For international applicants only.)

Please visit the GIAC web site for further details on how to apply, including application fees, address information, and how to submit official test scores. All uploaded materials are added via the Application Status Check page.

The Physics Department requires…

  • A CV (curriculum vitae) or Professional Résumé. Uploaded via the Application Status Check page.
  • Official GRE Physics Subject Test Scores. Be sure to have these sent directly to GIAC with your other scores (or separately, if necessary); the ETS Code is 6882. Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on prospective applicants, this requirement has been waived until further notice.

To provide some guidance to prospective applicants, the average GRE scores of those admitted for the Fall of 2011 are as follows:

Category Int’l U.S. All
Verbal 509 610 570
Quantitative 769 783 777
Physics Subject Test 907 777 827


Degrees Offered


The graduate program in Physics offers three degrees: a Master of Arts in Physics, a Master of Science in Applied Physics, and a Ph.D. in Physics. The official degree requirements are found in the Graduate Catalog; below, we include a brief summary of these requirements. Each graduate student must be enrolled for nine semester hours of credit in the fall and spring semesters.

Master of Arts in Physics

The MA degree requires 30 hours of credit, including six hours of thesis. Of the remaining 24 hours, 18 credit hours of course work must be in Physics and at least six hours of course work must be in supporting work outside of Physics. All requirements must be completed within one six-year period. The MA degree is not required to advance to the Ph.D. program.

Master of Science in Applied Physics

The requirements for the MS degree in Applied Physics are 30 hours of credit, six of which are obtained by the preparation of the required thesis. This course work must include the graduate level Physics courses in experimental physics, quantum mechanics, classical electrodynamics, the physics of sensors, and the technical seminar. Supporting work must be chosen from Engineering, Chemistry, or Geological Sciences.

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

There are several steps in the program leading to the Ph.D. degree, the most important of which is the last, the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research.

Prior to being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree the student must:

  • Take four “core” courses—quantum mechanics, classical electrodynamics, classical mechanics, and statistical mechanics—with a grade-point average of B+ (3.33);
  • Show evidence of exposure to modern methods of experimental physics through a senior-level course, participation in an experimental research program, or by taking the graduate course in experimental physics;
  • Present a seminar on a proposed research topic followed by an oral examination.

After satisfying the three requirements listed above, the student prepares a Program of Work for the Ph.D. degree. This Program of Work lists the courses the student has completed and those that will be taken to satisfy the requirements for the Ph.D. The Program of Work must be approved by the graduate advisor in the Physics Department and by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Following this approval, the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

The last step in the process is the preparation of a dissertation based on original research. The research leading to the dissertation is done under the supervision of a faculty committee chaired by the student’s dissertation director. This is certainly the most rewarding—and most time-consuming—part of the degree program. Approval of the dissertation follows a final oral examination covering the dissertation and related topics in physics.

Still have questions?

Please read over the FAQ page for an overview of answers to the most frequently asked questions. It summarizes the most common issues that come up each year.

For additional information about the Graduate Program in Physics, you can contact the Physics Graduate Office at: graduate@physics.utexas.edu

Additional information about the faculty and research programs of the Department can be found in the Research section of the Physics Department home page.