Prospective PhD Applicants 

Applications are accepted for fall admission only. The application deadline for full consideration for fall admission is January 31. Files completed after this date will be considered, but students should recognize that most of the financial resources will be committed by early spring.

To be eligible for admission to the Physics PhD program, applicants must:

  • Have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in physics or a closely related area, from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA
  • International applicants must demonstrate English proficiency via the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE. More information regarding English proficiency and required scores can be found at: https://admission.asu.edu/international/graduate/english-proficiency .

Test Scores

The Department of Physics no longer requires verbal, quantitative or analytical GRE scores. We  also do not require the Physics GRE. However, if you wish to supply these scores, you may supply them as part of your supplemental documentation. Although this change may not be reflected on all of ASU’s web pages it is effective immediately.

Application Fee Waiver

Applicants facing financial hardship may request a waiver for their application fee. Please complete the online application up to the fee payment page. To apply for an application fee waiver, please send the following materials to both Jeff Drucker (jeff.drucker@asu.edu) and Araceli Vizcarra (araceli.vizcarra@asu.edu):

  1. Your application ID number
  2. A brief essay (about 150 words) describing why paying the application fee is difficult in your situation
  3. The personal statement from your application
  4. Please choose and rank your top 3 research specializations from those available in our department. Your choices are:
    • Experimental biological and soft matter physics
    • Theoretical biological and soft matter physics
    • Experimental cosmology particle and astrophysics
    • Theoretical cosmology particle and astrophysics
    • Experimental nanoscale and materials physics
    • Theoretical nanoscale and materials physics
  5. Your unofficial undergraduate and graduate (if available) transcripts.
  6. If you are not a native English speaker, please supply proof of English Proficiency (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, etc). Unofficial score reports are acceptable.
  7. Please ensure that your application will be competitive according to the admission metrics shown below.
  8. Please list the upper division (third or fourth year) physics courses you've completed in these 4 subject areas: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism and statistical mechanics. Please include the course number and title as it is shown on your transcripts.

If you request is approved, we will let you know that you can submit your application without paying the fee. The Department of Physics has established a limited budget for these waivers. Requests will be considered as they are received until funds are depleted.

Application Information

Admission Metrics
While we employ holistic admission criteria, which consider diversity, life and research experience, programmatic needs and overlap with faculty research interests, you must be adequately prepared for graduate study in physics. A strong indicator of this preparation is your performance in upper division (third and fourth year) physics coursework. Successful applicants should have performed at the 'A' or 'B' level in their upper division physics coursework. Additionally, the disparity in the number of applications to the different research emphases offered by our PhD program requires us to be more selective for admission of our applicants with interests in certain sub-disciplines. As a rough guide to determine whether your application will be competitive, average overall GPAs of applicants admitted to our PhD program since 2017 are shown below.

Domestic Average GPA

  • Biological & Soft Matter Physics: 3.62
  • Cosmology, Particle & Astrophysics: 3.73
  • Nanoscale & Materials Physics: 3.57

International Average GPA

  • Biological & Soft Matter Physics: 3.62
  • Cosmology, Particle & Astrophysics: 3.64
  • Nanoscale & Materials Physics: 3.36

The entire admission process is electronic and is coordinated through the ASU Graduate Admissions. The entry link for application is Graduate Education's admissions page. All application materials must be submitted online, do not mail any documents to the Department of Physics. All official documents, transcripts and test scores should be sent to Graduate Admissions.

  1. Basic application and fee: https://admission.asu.edu/graduate/apply .
  2. Statement of purpose. Be sure to include specific items that indicate your personal attributes of initiative, creativity, determination, flexibility, etc relating to research or personal interests. Applicants should also reference the names of faculty with whom they are interested in working or have already consulted.
  3. TOEFL (or equivalent) for non-native speakers. ASU requires international students to have minimum TOEFL scores of 515 (PBT), 213 (CBT), or 83 (iBT). At the department level, we look for scores about 15% above these minima, since language skills are critical for teaching assistant positions. For more information on how to meet English Proficiency, visit https://admission.asu.edu/international/graduate/english-proficiency .
  4. Complete transcripts of educational work, to date. Transcripts should include the fall semester or winter quarter grades, if possible. Official transcripts must be sent directly to ASU Admission Services from the issuing institution's records office either by mail or through a secured electronic transcript service. For more information about transcripts please visit https://admission.asu.edu/graduate/apply .  We will accept unofficial transcripts for review purposes but we cannot admit you into the program until official transcripts are received.
  5. Three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to enter the names and email addresses in the online application of three individuals who can recommend you to our graduate program. These letters should be written by faculty or professional colleagues who have supervised you for research or academic work. For international students, specific comments about ability with spoken English will be helpful.
  6. You may include an additional one page document containing information that not in your statement of purpose that will assist the admissions committee in formulating a decision. This information might include skills that will enable you to succeed in PhD research (e.g., computer programming/coding, designing and building experimental apparatus, machine shop experience, mechanical or electronic design, etc.), challenges or hardships you have overcome or how your background can enrich the diversity of physics as a discipline. You may also list any publications that list you as an author or co-author as well as any awards, honors or professional society memberships. Feel free to explain your short and long-term goals after obtaining your PhD in physics.

All official documents must be mailed to Graduate Admissions:

If sending by stamped mail: If sending by Fedex, DHL or UPS:
Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
PO Box 871004
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004
Arizona State University
Graduate Admission Services
1150 East University Drive, Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281

FAQ

How do I submit my application materials?

All application materials for the PhD program are submitted online through the Graduate Admissions electronic application system. More information regarding the electronic admissions application can be found at: https://admission.asu.edu/graduate/apply.

Who should I have write letters of recommendation for my application?

Letters of recommendation should come from faculty members, instructors, research mentors or other individuals who have worked closely with the applicant and can comment on his/her potential for graduate study and research experience.

I missed the January 31st deadline. Can I still apply?

Yes.  Applications received after the deadline for fall admission may be reviewed and considered up to April 15th. However, we cannot guarantee that a late application will receive the same consideration as if it was sent on time. In addition, the applicant may not be eligible for some scholarships, fellowships or TA support. International students must consider important dates for the issuance of immigration documents. Please refer to the following website for this information: https://students.asu.edu/international/immigration.

Should I contact faculty to see if they have available openings within their research group?

Yes, applicants are encouraged to communicate with faculty they are interested in working with and to list the names of prospective faculty advisors on their application. These connections will help determine if applicants will be a good fit for the faculty’s research group and whether or not research assistant support will be available in the future.

When will admission decisions be made?

The admissions committee will review applications after the deadline. Recommendations for admissions will begin in February. 

How can I check the status of my application?

Please check your MyASU portal, specifically your Priority Tasks for any required items that need to be submitted.

I’m an international applicant and I’m having trouble with receiving or submitting documents for the I-20? What should I do?

All information regarding the I-20 (how to request, what is needed, and tracking the status) may be found in the student’s MyASU student account. The Graduate College produces the I-20. If the student has questions that are unable to be answered through the MyASU student account or through a search on their website, (http://graduate.asu.edu), the student should contact Graduate College directly at 1-480-965-6113 or by email: grad-ges@asu.edu.

If I send my application information in an email, can I receive a pre-evaluation to see if I’m eligible to apply?

No. We do not have the resources to pre-screen applications.  We cannot formulate an admission decision without an official application on file. All application materials must be received before a final decision is made.

Do I need to submit official transcripts as part of my application?

Unofficial transcripts of your college and/or university work are sufficient for review purposes as long as they are clearly labeled with the institution name and indicate the date(s) that degrees were awarded.  You cannot be officially admitted into our PhD program until official transcripts of your college and/or university work are received by our admissions office