Admission Criteria-Dept of Physics - Carnegie Mellon University

Admission Criteria

To be admitted to graduate study in the Department of Physics, an applicant must have graduated from a recognized four-year college, university or institute of technology, or must have earned equivalent credentials. Students who are finishing a B.S. or B.A. degree in physics or a closely related subject, will be considered for admission to graduate study in physics. Applications should be complete and submitted by

      Application deadline: January 1

for admission to begin study in the Fall semester. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test in Physics, which are used together with the other application material in selecting students. Only complete applications will receive full consideration.

There is no application fee.

A complete application package consists of the following:

  • A completed online application form.
  • Transcripts from all college-level institutions that you attended, whether or not you received a degree.
  • Three letters of recommendation from professional references. At least one letter should be from the institution that you currently attend or attended most recently.
  • An official report of the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Test in Physics.  To ensure that the scores reach us in time, you should take the GRE tests no later than November. Information on these examinations is available at the GRE Website. Please note that the GRE Institution code for Carnegie Mellon University is 2074 and the GRE department code for physics is 0808.
  • International Applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We recommend that you take the internet based test TOEFL iBT but accept the paper based test TOEFL PBT.  Information about the TOEFL test can be obtained at the TOEFL Website.  Please note that the TOEFL Institution code for Carnegie Mellon University is 2074 and the TOEFL department code for physics is 76.

After enrolling at Carnegie Mellon, students whose native language is not English are expected to take the International Teaching Assistant test administered by the Intercultural Communications Center at CMU. Students are required to take this test in order to be certified as teaching assistants.

The following coursework is considered to be part of a regular undergraduate preparation. Textbooks are given in brackets to indicate the general level expected from a successful undergraduate education:

  • Intermediate Mechanics (Thornton and Marion)
  • Electricity and Magnetism (Griffiths)
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics (Callen, Guenalt)
  • Atomic Physics (Eisberg and Resnick)
  • Elementary Quantum Mechanics (Griffiths)
  • Modern Physics Laboratory
  • Electronics
  • Advanced Calculus