Prospective Students

Application Procedure

Welcome to all prospective students, and thank you for your interest in our graduate program. The Department of Physics offers work leading to degrees in Physics at both the master's and doctoral levels. Our faculty members are currently conducting research and directing doctoral candidates in both experimental and theoretical topics in the major research areas of atomic, biological, condensed matter, materials, high-energy, nuclear, laser and molecular physics.

For general information, please refer to Graduate Application at the site of Office of Admissions

Please note the following Minimum Requirements on standardized tests:

  • International students should have a minimum score on the TOEFL exam of 80 (internet based test). This requirement cannot be waived by the Department.
  • There is no minimum on the GRE and the Subject GRE is not mandatory. All aspects of an applicant's background are considered in making decisions on admissions. However, high scores on the general GRE and the subject GRE are looked upon favorably.

Please apply in advance of the following deadlines.

  • Graduate College Application and Credentials Deadlines
  • December 15th to be considered for a University Fellowship.
    The Department of Physics will submit a nomination if you qualify. You do not need to do anything except submit your regular application by this date. Please do not mail in special requests.
  • February 15th for International Applicants seeking a Teaching/Research Assistantship.
  • February 15th (priority deadline) for Domestic Applicants seeking a Teaching/Research Assistantship.

The application procedure has two parts.

    UIC has instituted a paperless application process. You will only be asked to give us official paper documents if you are admitted and planning to enroll at UIC. In order to better serve you, we ask you complete both parts of the application process detailed below.

  1. Materials to be sent to the UIC Office of Admissions:
    • Graduate College Application
    • Application fee
    • Official GRE scores (requested from ETS - institution code is 1851)
    • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (requested from ETS - required of most international applicants. For definitions and exemptions please see this link.)

  2. Several days after you have completed the Graduate College Application,  you will receive an email with a link to a page to which you will upload the following departmental supplemental materials on PDF format:
  3. To be considered, you must first submit the UIC Graduate College Application. A few days after your submission of the Graduate College Application, you will receive an e-mail from UIC indicating that your application has been received and that you can now log into your application to upload both your credential requirements and departmental supplemental materials.

    For International applicants who are offered admission:
    International applicants offered admission may be asked to send a Declaration and Certification of Finances form along with a bank statement [please see notes on the Office of Admissions website].

This form should be submitted quickly after being offered admission. Delay in submitting this form can delay issuance of an I-20 immigration form. The deadline for receipt of these forms by the Office of International Services is May 1 or when our last vacant seat is filled, whichever comes first.

Please email any questions to

Program Information

Mailing Address:
Department of Physics,
845 West Taylor Street,
MC 273, Chicago, IL 60607-7059

Campus Location: 2236 SES
Department Code: 17
Curriculum Code: 5432
Admission Codes: 20FS0240MS (MS); 20FS0240PHD (PhD)
Telephone: (312) 996-3400

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Complete transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Requirement Description
Baccalaureate Field No restrictions. Prior academic work must include at least 20 semester hours of physics, including upper-level undergraduate electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, and classical mechanics.
Grade Point Average At least 2.75 (A=4.00) for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study.
Test Required GRE general exam is required; GRE Physics subject exam is highly recommended, but not required.
Minimum TOEFL Score 550 (paper-based); 213 (computer based); 80 (internet-based)
Letters of Recommendation Three required
Personal Statement Required

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Science
Minimum Semester Hours Required 32
Coursework At least 20 hours must be at the 500 level, of which no more than 4 hours may be in Phys 596. No more than 8 hours may be in Phys 598 if in thesis option.
Required Courses Phys 501, 502, 511, and 512
Comprehensive Examination None
Thesis / Project / Coursework options Thesis or coursework-only. No other options available.
Thesis No more than 8 hours of Phys 598 can be applied to the degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate
Coursework At least 36 hours must be in 500-level courses other than Phys 596 and 599.
Required Courses Phys 501, 502, 511, 512 and 561; five semesters of
Graduate Seminar, Phys 595; and at least one
complete sequence chosen from among the following:
Phys 513 and 514 or
Phys 521 and 522 or
Phys 531 and 532 or
Phys 551 and 552
Departmental Qualifying Exam (written),
Preliminary Exam (oral with written report),
Dissertation (Thesis) Defense
Other requirements
Each student must serve as a teaching assistant for at least two semesters