Graduate Admissions

We accept applications only for the Fall Semester of each year. The application window is from September to December for admission to the Fall semester of the following year. The admission deadline this year is December 15, 2020.

Detailed instructions for application submission can be found at the University Graduate Admissions Office website.

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Application Process

In addition to the general information (personal, educational, etc.) parts of the application, you must submit the following:

  1. A current resume. The admissions committee takes a holistic view of the applicant’s academic experience to date, and evaluates his or her potential to develop into an independent researcher. If you have any prior significant research experience, make sure you describe it here, and also include the corresponding mentors in the list of references.  We also understand that some institutions do not offer research experiences to undergraduates. In that case, highlight other aspects of your education that may have prepared you to become a graduate student.
  2. Statement of Research Objectives. Please tell the committee what areas or subfields of physics you are currently interested in, how you see yourself as a professional physicist, and what components of our graduate program are of special interest to you.
  3. The committee values your grades in undergraduate core courses: Quantum and Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Thermal and Statistical Physics. Make sure they are listed in the application in the appropriate section.
  4. We do not require results from the GRE for admission. The University application page allows you to enter GRE results, but the Physics program does not use them for admission decisions.
  5. International applicants are required to provide TOEFL exam results. Your total TOEFL score must be 79. The writing section must be at least 21. The reading section must be at least 19. More information on this University policy can be found on the Graduate School's website.
  6. Three letters of reference. The admissions committee is particularly interested in independent evaluations of your potential ability to conduct research, and of your interest and motivation for graduate school. The committee wants to make sure that you will likely be successful in our program, and plays close attention to the letters. They provide important background that is complementary to the information included in your academic record such as courses taken, and grades.  

The online application is not complete until the application fee has been paid. The School of Physics and Astronomy does not send acknowledgment upon receipt of application, nor does it send notification of missing documents. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the arrival of all necessary documents to their correct recipients.

A decision regarding your application will be communicated to you in late January or early February.

Additional Information

If you have further questions about the application process, please :

  • Consult our list of Frequently Asked Questions
  • Inquiries that are specific to the physics program can be directed to physics@umn.edu
  • For general questions about the application interface, or details about the process, please contact:

Office of Admissions
The Graduate School
Telephone (+1) 612-625-3014
Email: gsquest@umn.edu

NSF Graduate Research Training Program

The School of Physics and Astronomy is participating in the NSF Graduate Research Training program titled Data Science in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics. Students participating in this program receive a minor Ph.D. degree in Data Science in Astrophysics (in addition to their Ph.D. in Physics or Astrophysics) and have opportunities to participate in technical and professional training workshops and various outreach activities. One-year $34,000 stipends (plus tuition and fees) are available. For more information, please visit  https://dsmma.umn.edu/. If you would like to be considered for this program, please indicate so in your application.