Ph.D. in Physics

The Ph.D. program requires 60 credits, including dissertation research. Candidates for the degree must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination and a doctoral research admission examination (taken after completing a master's thesis, or completing two semesters of an advanced research project for students who already have obtained a non-thesis master's, or presentation of master's thesis research carried out at another institution). 

Areas of research include experimental nuclear physics, experimental and theoretical solid-state physics and materials science, optics, laser physics, submillimeter (terahertz) wave applications, nano-science and technology, astronomy, space physics, energy applications including nuclear and solar, applied mechanics, radiological health physics, and medical physics.

For admission into the Ph.D. program the General GRE Test is required and the Physics Subject GRE Test is recommended but not required.

To learn more about our research programs check out our Merging Science with Technology: Research Programs Brochure (pdf) and our one page Ph.D. in Physics flyer (pdf).

  • The Physics Department strives to provide full financial support for all admitted Ph.D. students. The first two years are typically funded through Teaching Assistantships (TA) plus summer research support, while funding for subsequent years are through Research Assistantships (RA). Starting fall 2016, the total compensation package for a UMass Lowell first year out-of-state physics Ph.D. student is valued at over $50,000. This includes a 12-month stipend of $25,000, a full waiver of tuition and operating fees, plus 80 percent of student health insurance costs. An additional ten $3,000 university scholarships will be offered starting fall 2016 to top admitted students, bringing the total 12-month stipend amount for university scholars to $28,000. Scholarships may be renewed for up to two years for TA's and for additional years for RA's, contingent on performance, that include passing the Ph.D. qualifying exams and maintaining a full-time graduate course load with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.6.

  • Applications are made through the Graduate Admissions website.


    Applications for the Ph.D. program must be submitted no later than Jan. 15 for consideration for the fall semester.

    Applications to the master's program can be submitted at any time.

    Required Documents:

    • General GRE test for all applicants
    • GRE Physics Subject Test for Ph.D. applicants recommended, but not required
    • TOEFL for international students whose native language is not English
    • Transcripts in duplicate
    • Three letters of reference
    • A personal statement

    Research Qualifications

    Previous research experience and recommendations from prior research supervisors are desirable but not required for Ph.D. applicants.

    Applicants are welcome to contact our faculty directly to discuss their research interests. All applications are evaluated collectively by the graduate admissions committee.

    Students with Non-Standard Backgrounds

    We consider applicants with non-traditional physics backgrounds, including students with degrees in related sciences and engineering, students with industry experience, and others who may not enter the program directly after finishing a B.S. degree. 

    Application process information

Information for Graduate Students

Details of program requirements can be found in the Academic Catalog.