Carnegie Mellon University

Physics Ph.D. Program Admission

Students who are finishing a B.S., B.A. or M.S. degree in Physics or a closely related subject will be considered for admission to graduate study in the CMU Physics program. For full consideration, applications should be complete and submitted by our deadline:

Application deadline: December 15.
A $25 application fee is required.

We regret that it is not possible to waive this small fee, with the exception of specific cases (at present for GEM Fellowship applicants only).

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. Applications should be complete and submitted by December 15 to begin study in the fall semester of the following year.

Only complete applications will receive full consideration.

For a complete application package, please provide the following items:

  1. Online Application: Our Online Application System opens typically by late August to early September. The application will include: some biographical information, a personal statement, some information about prior research activities, and research interests. More detailed instructions are given once you start your application. Create an account and apply online.
  2. Transcript: A copy of your transcript is required from all college-level institutions you attended – independent of whether you received a degree or not. Please upload a digital copy of your transcript to our Online Application System.
  3. Letters of Recommendation: Please provide three (3) letters of recommendation from professional references. At least one letter should be from the institution that you currently attend or attended most recently. Your recommenders will receive instructions after you have completed the online application.
  4. TOEFL or IELTS: International applicants whose native language is not English must document sufficient language proficiency. Arrange for your scores to be sent electronically to Carnegie Mellon University directly. We accept official reports from:
    1. the International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
    2. the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL Institution Code for Carnegie Mellon is 2074 and the TOEFL Department Code for physics is 76. We recommend that you take the internet-based test (TOEFL iBT);
    3. the Duolingo TOEFL. Information on sending your Duolingo scores to as many universities as you wish free of charge can be found here.
  5. GRE: GRE General or GRE Subject Test scores are recommended if available but not required.

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Admission FAQ

Questions? Contact our Academic Program Manager

Recommended Preparation Level

The following coursework is considered to be part of a regular undergraduate preparation (with textbook examples indicating the general level of proficiency):

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