Graduate admissions

The Wayne State Department of Physics and Astronomy provides state-of-the-art research facilities and offers excellent research opportunities in theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics (including biomedical physics, nanophysics, and the physics of complex materials), high energy nuclear physics, particle physics, and astrophysics.

Members of our faculty participate in major international collaborations at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), KEK (Tsukuba, Japan), Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and SLAC National Laboratory. Faculty also utilize the Wayne State Computing Grid, the Open Science Grid, and other large grid computing systems as part of their collaboration efforts. Our faculty are highly active in their fields, publishing in excess of 50 per year. 

A Master's Degree typically takes from one to two years to complete. A PhD typically takes seven years but can be completed in as little as four years. 

Admission requirements

All applications received before January 15 will receive full consideration for admission and assistantships during the following fall semester (September). Applications for assistantships received after this date will be considered depending upon the availability of positions.

To be considered for graduate admissions, an applicant must hold or be completing an earned baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing. In addition, prerequisite preparation should include completion of general college physics with laboratory (equivalent to PHY 2170/2171, 2180/2181, and 3300/3310), 15 credits in intermediate physics courses (e.g. equivalent to PHY 5200, 5210, 5500, 6400, 6410, 6600 and 6610); mathematics through PHY 5100; and CHM 1220/1230 or equivalent courses.

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General and submit their score with their application. Please note that GRE scores are a very important consideration for admission and award of financial support. The physics GRE is optional but strongly recommended.

Prospective applicants whose first language is not English are further required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. A score of 550 or higher is required on the paper-based test. The minimal required score on the computer-based test is 213. A score of 50 or higher on the TSE (Test of Spoken English) satisfies the language requirement for a teaching assistantship. Alternatively, applicants for a teaching assistantship must receive a score of 50 or higher on the SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit) test after arrival at Wayne State.

Learn more about the Wayne State Graduate School admissions criteria

Application procedure

All applications and required documents must be submitted online via the Graduate School.

Please DO NOT send any hard copies of your documents. Required documents include your academic records, three letters of references, GRE/TOEFL score sheets, and a personal/research statement. Only complete applications including all these required documents will be considered.

The Physics department evaluates all complete applications on a rolling basis beginning on January 15 and informs you of our departmental recommendations for admission and financial support. If you indicate that you wish to be considered for admission if financial support is not available, we will inform you of our recommendation regarding admission. Since most decisions on support for new students are made considerably before the beginning of the academic year (fall semester begins in late August) for which aid is sought, we strongly advise that you submit your application materials as early as possible.

Financial aid and graduate assistantships

Financial support is provided to incoming and continuing qualifying Ph.D. students by means of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), and selected fellowship programs

All incoming Ph.D. students are automatically considered for GTA, GRA, or the Rumble Fellowship program. However, the number of assistantships and fellowships awarded to incoming students varies from year to year.


Jian Huang, Chair of the Graduate Admission Committee