The Department of Physics includes programs in many areas of current research interest. These include: astrophysics, atomic molecular and optical physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, cosmic ray & particle astrophysics, dynamical systems, elementary particle theory, fluid dynamics, general relativity, high energy physics, many-body theory, materials research, non-linear dynamics and chaos, nuclear physics, particle accelerator research, plasma physics, quantum computing, quantum electronics and optics, quantum field theory, space physics, statistical mechanics and superconductivity.
Because of the large number of qualified applicants, the Department of Physics has had to restrict formal admission to the Graduate School to those who have shown particularly outstanding work in their undergraduate records or who have already done satisfactory work in key senior-level courses at the University of Maryland. Students who have less outstanding records but who show special promise may be given provisional admission under special circumstances. Regular admission will then depend on the satisfactory completion of existing deficiencies. A faculty adviser will inform each of these students what background he or she lacks and what he or she must accomplish to achieve regular admission. Thus, the Department hopes to offer an opportunity for advanced study in physics to all qualified students.
Students who enter the graduate program are normally expected to have strong backgrounds in physics, including intermediate-level courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, physical optics, and modern physics. A student with deficiencies in one or more of these areas may be admitted but will be expected to remedy such deficiencies as soon as possible.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), including the Advanced Physics test, is required for admission. In rare instances, this requirement may be waived. The average GRE Advanced Physics test score is 785. The average gpa for students educated in U.S. institutions is 3.7. A minimum overall score of 575 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language is required of applicants from non-English speaking countries.
Type of Applicant Fall Spring
Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents with foreign credentials; International Applicants seeking admissions under A, E, G, H, I and L visas and immigrants
Deadline: January 15
International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
Deadline: January 15
- GRE General
- GRE Physics
- 3 Letters of Recommendation
- Transcript from all institutions where you have taken 9 or more credits
Master of Science (M.S.)
The Department offers both thesis and non-thesis options in its Master of Science program. The Departmental requirements for the non-thesis option include: a total of 30 credits excluding research credits; at least four courses of the general physics sequence; a graduate laboratory unless specially exempted; a paper as evidence of ability to organize and present a written scholarly report on contemporary research; and the passing at the master's level of one section of the Ph.D. qualifying exam. The thesis option's requirements include at least four courses of the general physics sequence, a graduate laboratory unless specially exempted, and the passing of an oral examination including a defense of thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics are set in general terms to allow the individual student as much freedom as possible to prepare a course of study suited to individual needs. These requirements are: competence in basic physics indicated by a satisfactory performance on a qualifying examination and in a graduate laboratory; attendance in a departmental research seminar; the giving of an oral Preliminary Research Presentation to demonstrate the ability to organize and orally present a topic of current research interest in physics; a paper as evidence of the ability to organize and present a written scholarly report on contemporary research prior to candidacy; advanced course study outside the student's field of specialization consisting of two advanced courses (six credits), at least one of which must be a physics course at the 700 level or above; PHYS 624 or 625 for students with theoretical theses; and research competence through active participation in at least two hours of seminar, 12 hours of thesis research, and the presentation and defense of an original dissertation.
Current research in the Department spans an immense range of theoretical and experimental work on the forefront of knowledge, far too large to describe here. Details of the work in the various fields, and the faculty and facilities involved can be found at the Departmental web site, www.physics.umd.edu.
Out of the 70 professorial faculty members, approximately 60 engage in separately budgeted research; 90 faculty members at other ranks also engage in research. In 2005-06, approximately 160 graduate students also participated in research under stipends. The current federal support for research amounts to approximately 19 million dollars annually, attesting to both the size and the quality of the program.
There are close academic ties with the Institute of Physical Science and Technology on the campus; members of the Institute supervise graduate research and also teach physics courses. Faculty members in the departments of Astronomy and Electrical Engineering also frequently direct thesis research.
In addition to using College Park campus facilities, graduate students can utilize resources of nearby federal laboratories under certain conditions.
The University of Maryland is located within the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., where it enjoys the proximity of a large number of outstanding institutions, such as NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the Naval Research Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Health, the Library of Congress, and other federal institutions. The Department works closely with certain research groups at some of these institutions. In order to facilitate graduate study in the Washington area, the Department of Physics has adjunct professors in certain government laboratories.
Students who desire to do graduate work in physics at a government agency should contact a member of the graduate faculty in the Department.
The Department offers both teaching and research assistantships. In 2005-2006 approximately 50 teaching assistants and 160 research assistants worked in the Department. Summer research stipends for advanced graduate students are customary, and a few summer teaching assistantships are available.
The deadline for all applications is February 1.
Graduate students also can seek full-time or part-time employment in the many government and industry laboratories located within a few miles of the campus.
A booklet is available regarding the graduate program in physics. Graduate Study in Physics is a guidebook to procedural requirements and rules concerning the acquisition of higher degrees. Various brochures are available which describe the program's research activities and personnel. For more information, contact:
Mrs. Linda O'Hara, Secretary
Graduate Entrance Committee
1120 Physics Building Department of Physics University of Maryland
Telephone: (301) 405-5982
Fax: (301) 405-4061