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Top Physics graduate schools

Looking for the top Physics graduate schools? We put together a comprehensive list of the best graduate programs for Physics, and put the results below. We include the acceptance rate, average GRE scores, and a brief description of each - all the information you need to kick start your research. Read on!

California Institute of Technology Physics school acceptance rate

California Institute of Technology's Physics acceptance rate is 20.00%.

California Institute of Technology
Antony-22 / Wikimedia Commons / "Noyes Laboratory Caltech 2003" / CC BY-SA 3.0

Caltech's Physics program offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree with a focus on research and teaching. Independent research is a key component, supported by courses covering fundamental and specialized physics topics. Research opportunities span diverse fields such as particle physics, astronomy, condensed-matter physics, and quantum information. Graduates gain extensive research experience, broad knowledge of contemporary physics, and the ability to excel as independent researchers. A Master of Science degree can be pursued alongside the Ph.D. Financial support, in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships, is available to approximately 99% of doctoral students. Caltech's research facilities, as well as external institutions and private industries, provide additional research opportunities.

Columbia University Physics school acceptance rate

Columbia University's Physics acceptance rate is 25.00%.

Columbia University
Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA / Wikimedia Commons / "Columbia University - Department of Physics" / CC BY 2.0

Columbia University's Physics Department offers a rigorous Ph.D. program for students seeking the highest academic degree in physics. The program involves coursework and research in cutting-edge areas of physics. Students collaborate closely with faculty sponsors, fellow graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers during their research phase. The department exclusively admits students pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics, but also awards Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees in the process. For those interested solely in a master's degree, there is a program in the Philosophical Foundations of Physics offered jointly with the Philosophy Department. The department admits a limited number of students annually and emphasizes research collaborations with other disciplines and state-of-the-art facilities worldwide.

Cornell University Physics school acceptance rate

Cornell University's Physics acceptance rate is 18.91%.

Cornell University
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons / "Clark Hall of Science, Cornell University" / CC BY-SA 4.0

Cornell University's graduate physics program offers a multidisciplinary and congenial environment with superb facilities. It focuses on two key aspects: mastering advanced general physics to broaden employment options and conducting original research in a specific area. The program supports students through the Physics Graduate Society, providing social and professional activities. With over 40 active professors, research opportunities, and collaborative interactions, Cornell's mid-sized department cultivates a friendly atmosphere. Graduate students engage in sports, dancing classes, and musical ensembles together. The program also offers access to state-of-the-art research facilities, enabling students to gain practical skills in areas like particle accelerators, electron microscopy, and chip fabrication.

Harvard University Physics school acceptance rate

Harvard University's Physics acceptance rate is 7%.

Harvard University
Bostonian13 / Wikimedia Commons / "Jefferson Laboratory 2" / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Harvard Department of Physics offers students a wide range of educational and research opportunities with renowned faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. They explore fundamental physics problems at different scales, covering areas like atomic physics, astrophysics, biophysics, and more. Students contribute to exciting discoveries, such as the Higgs boson, quantum computing, and studying black holes. The department fosters inclusivity and attracts students from diverse backgrounds. They provide comprehensive advising, counseling, and career events. On-site resources include labs and fabrication shops. Interdisciplinary collaborations involve fields like ultracold atoms, quantum materials, and quantitative biology. Simultaneous applications to other departments are encouraged, promoting interdisciplinary research.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Physics school acceptance rate

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Physics acceptance rate is 11.00%.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons / "Green Building - MIT, Cambridge, MA - DSC05589" / CC0

The MIT Department of Physics has a graduate program with 260 to 290 students pursuing a PhD in Physics. Around 45 students start and graduate each year, with a typical study duration of 5 to 7 years. The department conducts groundbreaking research in various areas, exploring space, time, matter, and energy from the subatomic to the cosmic level. Impressive achievements include 14 alumni and 8 faculty members, including 4 current faculty, receiving the Nobel Prize in Physics. The department is renowned for its contributions to physics education, with 8 faculty members honored with the Oersted Medal. They prioritize combining research and instruction, allowing students to engage in original research early on. The department is committed to excellence in research, education, and fostering a positive working environment.

Princeton University Physics school acceptance rate

Princeton University's Physics acceptance rate is 10.00%.

Princeton University
cultivar413 / Wikimedia Commons / "One of the first interwar dormitories constructed, Pyne Hall would come to serve as the home of first female students on campus." / CC BY 2.0

The Department of Physics focuses on research-intensive graduate studies leading to a Ph.D. degree. They prioritize inclusiveness, welcoming students from diverse backgrounds and fostering a strong sense of community. The department emphasizes both theoretical and experimental studies, covering areas such as elementary particle physics, gravity and cosmology, nuclear and atomic physics, condensed matter physics, and biophysics. Early research involvement helps students develop essential skills and establish connections with faculty members, preparing them for independent research. Additionally, the department provides training in teaching and scholarly presentation. Collaborations with other departments and institutes offer interdisciplinary research opportunities. While not mandatory, graduate students have the chance to gain teaching experience. The program aims to equip students for careers in academia, research, and non-academic sectors.

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Stanford University Physics school acceptance rate

Stanford University's Physics acceptance rate is 5.10%.

Stanford University
Cullen328 / Wikimedia Commons / "Stanford Physics and Astrophysics" / CC BY-SA 3.0

Stanford University offers outstanding research opportunities for graduate students in the field of Physics. They can engage in cutting-edge research in various departments and schools, such as Physics and Applied Physics, Particle Physics & Astrophysics, Photon Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In addition to research, students benefit from a comprehensive academic experience that includes coursework, seminars, teaching roles, and student-led activities. The university emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between academic and social commitments, encouraging students to participate in various recreational and community-oriented activities. The Physics Department at Stanford fosters a close-knit community, organizing numerous social events and providing a supportive and stimulating environment for its diverse student body.

University of California, Berkeley Physics school acceptance rate

University of California, Berkeley's Physics acceptance rate is 5.50%.

University of California, Berkeley
Sanfranman59 / Wikimedia Commons / "LeConte Hall (Berkeley, CA)" / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Department of Physics at the University of Berkeley offers graduate programs leading to a PhD degree. Students can also apply for an MA degree while on their path to a PhD, but the department does not accept applications from students solely interested in the MA degree. In some cases, students may pursue a terminal MA degree. The PhD program emphasizes research, covering various areas of theoretical and experimental physics such as astrophysics, cosmology, atomic physics, biophysics, condensed matter, and more. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides additional research opportunities in fields like astrophysics, nuclear physics, and materials science. The university promotes diversity and offers support to students from all backgrounds. They aim to create a welcoming environment through weekly events, seminars, and social gatherings. Berkeley's PhD recipients go on to become leaders in academia and industry.

University of Chicago Physics school acceptance rate

University of Chicago's Physics acceptance rate is 15.00%.

University of Chicago
Bohao Zhao / Wikimedia Commons / "Gordon Center for Integrative Science" / CC BY 3.0

The University of Chicago's Physics Department has a rich history and is dedicated to creating an inclusive and diverse academic environment. The department emphasizes cross-disciplinary research and houses several multi-disciplinary institutes and centers. It values the contributions that diversity brings to both life and science, fostering collaboration among individuals from different backgrounds. Since its establishment, the department has achieved notable accomplishments in physics, attracting significant grants and conducting groundbreaking research. Prominent figures like A. A. Michelson, Robert A. Millikan, Arthur H. Compton, and Enrico Fermi have contributed to its success. The department's focus on excellence in teaching and research continues to shape its mission today, with ongoing discoveries and scientific contributions by its members.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Physics school acceptance rate

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign's Physics acceptance rate is 13.30%.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
SPDvinny / Wikimedia Commons / "A view of the Beckman Institute from the south. It is the northern-most building on the Beckman Quad at the University of Illinois" / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. Their approach focuses on interdisciplinary interactions and integrated research training. Research opportunities are available in various physics subdisciplines, including condensed matter, high energy, nuclear, astrophysics, atomic, molecular, optical, complex systems, quantum information, and biological physics. The department provides state-of-the-art research facilities in both traditional and advanced physics areas. Students can choose experimental, theoretical, or computational thesis projects and have the option to earn concurrent master's degrees in fields like materials science and engineering or computer science. Graduates have successful careers worldwide in education, academia, national labs, and private industry.


And there you have it - the top graduate schools for Physics. These are some of the best schools in the country for this field, and admission into any of them would be a great accomplishment that could set you up for a strong career.

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