Button to scroll to the top of the page.


Campus health and safety are our top priorities. Get the latest from UT on COVID-19.

Get help with Zoom and more.


Additional Help and Information


Below is a compliation of the most commonly received questions regarding the Graduate Program, admisssions, and other Graduate-related topics. At the end is a list of links to some other sites that you might find to be helpful as well.

If your question is not addressed here or in the other areas of this site, please email the Graduate Coordinator and we will be happy to help you.


Do I need to send GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, and Physics GRE Subject test scores to the Department?

No. You only need to send scores to the University of Texas (code 6882). Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on prospective applicants, the Physics GRE subject test requirement has been waived until further notice.


Is it OK if my scores arrive after the deadline?

It should be OK if your scores arrive within a couple of weeks after the deadline. Any longer than this and we may begin the review process, and your scores will not be in your file in time. We still review your other items, but this will hurt your chances if scores are missing.


Can I just send copies of my scores?

No; unfortunately, we can only accept scores officially reported to us directly by ETS.


How do I apply for financial aid?

There is no Department application for financial aid. All students are considered for financial support, and those admitted are offered a Teaching Assistant position.


What is the amount of financial award given to students?

All admitted new Ph.D. graduate students are offered a Teaching Assistant financial award, in-state tuition waiver, and tuition reimbursement. The in-state waiver reduces tuition by about $3,200 per semester. The tuition reimbursement does not completely cover tuition costs, as it is taxed income. In 2008, International students paid about $1,000, and U.S students paid about $800 in tuition out-of-pocket costs per semester. The TA salary total for the 2008–2009 academic year was $16,542 for nine months of study. Teaching Assistants also receive paid medical benefits.


Can you tell me my chances for admissions before I apply?

No. Due to the high volume of requests and applicants (approximately 500 a year) we cannot provide you with an estimate of your chances for admission. Admission is highly competitive, and is more so for international students due to the higher volume of applicants and fewer admissions. For Fall 2008 admission, we had approximately 237 foreign applicants, and only accepted 33 for admission. For U.S. applicants, there were approximately 174 applicants, and 85 were admitted. A total of 118 were admitted with 33 new students enrolling (16 international and 17 U.S. students).


Will I receive summer support?

We typically support about 30 students in the summer with a TA position. For fall and spring semesters, we hire approximately 120 students as Teaching Assistants. The University teaches far fewer summer courses, so the need for TAs is very diminished. Only about 10% of new students will receive summer support in the form of a TA position. There are more summer Research Assistant opportunities, so it is suggested that you ask professors if they have any summer research opportunities.


Can I send all my application materials to the Department?

No, our admissions process is now completely paperless.


I submitted my statement of purpose online; do I need to mail it in also?



Do I need to send in the Certificate of Financial Responsibility when I apply? (This pertains to International applicants only.)

No. You may wait until you have been accepted to send this information, and you will include that we have given you a TA award as part of your income for obtaining your visa.


Do I need a Physics Bachelor’s degree to apply to the Physics Ph.D. program?

No, although nearly all our applicants have this degree. Many of the international applicants have a Master’s degree also. It is assumed that you have an undergraduate background that includes physics courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, atomic physics, and quantum mechanics.


May I send more than three recommendation letters?

Once you have submitted your application, you can use our self-service feature on the “My Status” web site to resend the Request for Reference email to your recommenders, if necessary. You can use this site to supply an alternate email such as GMail if your recommender’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender and send the Request for Reference email or revise your FERPA (right to view) status from retained to waived.


Can I submit the letters of recommendation online?

Yes, you can now submit recommendation letters online. This is now part of the online application.


Can I apply for a Master’s degree only?

Yes, but we do not offer any financial support to Master’s applicants. Most of our Ph.D. students do not earn a Master’s while en route to the Ph.D. There is an oral examination given in the third year of the program, and students also apply for Ph.D. candidacy later in that year; but this is not to earn a Master’s degree, but simply to advance in the program. If a student is making poor academic progress, he or she will often take a Master’s degree and leave before completing the Ph.D. Only about 2–5 students a year need to take the Master’s in this manner.


Do you offer a Ph.D. in Applied Physics?

No. You will see a major code for Applied Physics on the online application, but please do not choose this major code. It appears there because we do offer an M.S. in Applied Physics, which is offered but rarely taken. We simply do not have many courses in this area on a Ph.D. level. You might want to consider applying to an Engineering area at UT Austin instead.


Can I be waived from the TOEFL? (This pertains to International applicants only.)

No. The only waiver is given to students who have a Bachelor’s degree from an English-only speaking or U.S. university. A Master’s degree is not enough to have a waiver. See the GIAC site for more information on the TOEFL, including minimum required scores.


How do I find out if all my materials arrived and my application is complete?

Log on to the “My Status” web site:


When will I hear if I am accepted?

Our Graduate Recruitment Committee will begin to review applications in late January. Decisions should take place in mid-February for U.S. applicants and late March or early April for International applicants. Please be patient as we review your materials. If you submitted a full application (application fee, official test scores, online application, etc.), you may check on your status through UT Direct. The Department mails acceptance and financial aid award letters only to those who are accepted; the Admissions Office will mail denial letters.


What are some other sites that I might find helpful?



Contacts and Links
Graduate Coordinator
Matt Ervin
PMA 5.224 • (512) 471-1664
Graduate Advisor
John Keto
PMA 10.315 • (512) 471-5029
UT Graduate School
Main Bldg., Room 101
(512) 471-4511
Graduate Welfare Committee
Natural Sciences Career Services
PAI 5.03 • (512) 471-3172