Graduate Studies in Physics
Graduate Program Information
Dear Prospective Graduate Students:
The graduate program in Physics at the University of Virginia is intended primarily to prepare Ph.D. graduates for careers in research and teaching in Physics. UVa has active research groups in the following disciplines: high energy particle physics; nuclear physics; atomic, molecular, and optical physics including quantum information; condensed matter physics, including soft condensed matter and biophysics; gravitation, general relativity and cosmology; and medical physics. The graduate program in Physics currently has approximately 85 students, 40 standing faculty, 12 emeritus faculty, and more than 20 postdoctoral fellows and research scientists, plus visiting scholars and full-time scientific support staff. We invite you to explore our Department and programs using the links below. You can find useful links to information regarding details of the application process, financial aid, research activities, our faculty, the town of Charlottesville and the surrounding area.
Students admitted to the Ph.D. program are supported financially either by teaching and research assistantships or fellowships. Research leading to the dissertation can be carried out not only within the Department of Physics, but, with appropriate arrangements, either partly or entirely at other locations. Recent dissertation research has been carried out at various national laboratories across the globe, such as the NIST Center for Neutron Research, Jefferson Lab, Fermilab, CERN, and the Paul Scherrer Institute.
During their first year of study, students will be given opportunities to become acquainted with faculty members outside of their formal course work so that they can make informed decisions regarding their fields of interest. A graduate seminar is offered to first year students and serves as an introduction to the kind of research performed in the Department. Students will be strongly encouraged to find a faculty advisor to work with for a time under his or her supervision and to obtain some research experience. A student may engage in several such preliminary research periods before embarking upon their dissertation research by which time they would transfer to a faculty advisor of their choice. All students are expected to devote the summer between their first and second years of study to do research in one of our laboratories or with one of our faculty members. Summer research frequently serves as a very useful trial period or as a time to start on one's thesis research. The program and quality of work of all graduate students are reviewed annually by the Department in order to guarantee the success of the student's graduate career.
Our Ph.D. graduates move on to a variety of positions in academia, national laboratories, and industry, and several of them continue scientific or professional collaborations with their former thesis advisors.
Last but not least, the Physics Department is fully committed to increasing diversity and participation of underrepresented and minority students in research and education. We are, in particular, a partner site of the Bridge program of the American Physical Society.
If you would like more information on our program, contact us via email and we will be happy to help.