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Admissions

The prerequisite for the physics graduate program is a four-year undergraduate degree in physics, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution. Entering graduate students are expected to have a strong undergraduate foundation in general physics, classical mechanics, elementary quantum mechanics and modern physics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics, in addition to mathematics through differential equations. Promising students who do not meet these requirements will still be considered for admission. However they may expect to spend a portion of their first year taking transitional courses to complete their preparation for graduate study.

Deadlines

For full consideration, international students should submit all application materials before January 15. U.S. applicants should submit all materials before February 1. The first offers of admission and financial support are sent in early February: applicants who submit materials after the deadline are therefore at a distinct disadvantage. International students who submit late materials may not have time to obtain required visas.

If an applicant does not take the GRE or TOEFL exam sufficiently early, the test score report may not arrive prior to these deadlines. In this case, we will still review the application. However, no offer of admission or financial support can be made until the application is complete.

Students receiving offers of admission and financial support are asked to accept or decline that offer no later than April 15. Under the guidelines of the Council of Graduate Schools, no U.S. institution may require a graduate program applicant to accept or decline an offer of financial support before April 15.

Financial support

Most entering graduate students are supported by a teaching assistantship or a grading assistantship. The teaching required by graduate assistantships is an important part of the overall instructional effort of the department. Teaching is also a professional benefit to the graduate student, since it strengthens a student’s mastery of the subject. After successful completion of the coursework, students are usually taken into one of the research groups and may be supported by a research grant while working toward a degree. Students who have not yet demonstrated proficiency in English are appointed to a grading assistantship.

Appointments for teaching and grading assistantships for entering students are usually made for the twelve-month academic year beginning in August. The current twelve-month stipend is $25,000 for a first-year teaching graduate assistant, and grading assistantships at a reduced stipend are offered to those international students who are unable to pass the required Test of Spoken English (TSE), which must be taken on arrival. These stipends are sufficient, with Gainesville’s relatively low cost of living, to ensure a reasonably comfortable lifestyle for a single student. Both types of graduate assistant appointments come with a waiver for tuition fees, so the students are only responsible for the student fees.

Fellowships

For qualifying students, fellowships are available. All applicants will be considered for any of the fellowships for which they qualify; a separate application is not needed. Further information on these possibilities is available from the Graduate Recruiter.

How to apply

Students are admitted into the graduate program of the Physics Department, not into individual research groups. Therefore no offer or promise of admission to the graduate program can be made until a student has submitted a complete application for graduate admission. All application materials should be submitted through the University of Florida admissions website and NOT to the department.

The online application: Please submit ALL application materials through the University of Florida online application system at the website of the University of Florida Office of Admissions: http://www.admissions.ufl.edu/start.html. When you complete the online application, please be careful to apply for the fall semester (not spring or summer). You will be given an identification number (the UFID) that you can use to track the receipt of application materials through the Office of Admissions website. For further details see http://www.admissions.ufl.edu/prospectivegraduate.html.

Application Materials Required

MATERIALSSubmit to
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall, P.O. Box 114000, Gainesville FL 32611-4000, USA, Telephone: 352.392.1365
Application Fee$30
Official College/
University Transcripts
Official Transcripts
TOEFL Test Score Reports
(for international students)
Original report Use institution code 5812
GRE general exam score reportOriginal report Use institution code 5812
GRE physics exam score report (highly recommended)Original report Use institution code 0808
Letters of recommendationSubmit three letters online
Statement of purposeSubmit online
Certification of Financial ResponsibilityMay be submitted after acceptance
  • Application fee of $30. This fee is required by the University of Florida. It cannot be waived, reduced, or deferred by the Physics Department. Please note that a service charge may be added if you pay by credit card.
  • Official transcripts from every postsecondary institution (college or university) that you have attended. Your transcripts must show that you possess (or will possess) a four-year undergraduate degree, or its equivalent. Official transcripts must be provided to the UF Office of Admissions from each postsecondary institution attended. Both the department and UF admissions office review application materals.
  • Official score report for both the GRE General and the GRE Subject (physics). The University of Florida requires the GRE General score and the Physics Department highly recommends the (physics) score.
  • Official score report for the English language proficiency exam is required for most international students. Proficiency in the English language is required of applicants from countries (including Puerto Rico) where English is not the official language. These applicants must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). The Physics Department strongly recommends that international students take the internet-based TOEFL (the TOEFL-iBT) if possible. Please use institution code 5812 to send TOEFL score reports to the Office of Admissions. The English testing requirement may be waived if you have been enrolled in a degree seeking program for one academic year (in a country where English is the official language) prior to your anticipated term of enrollment at UF.
  • Certification of Financial Responsibility. This form is required by the University, but it does not have to be completed before we review your application. This form can be submitted at a later date.

If you have questions about your application, you may use the online application system to track the status of your application at the UF Office of Admissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

 I cannot afford to pay the $30 application fee. Can I pay it after I am admitted?

No. We realize that the fee may impose a hardship on some applicants, particularly international applicants. However, please understand that the $30 fee is not collected by the Physics Department. It is required and collected by the University of Florida Office of Admissions. We are not permitted to admit any student whose complete application has not been received by the Admissions Office – and this includes payment of the fee. Therefore we simply cannot consider your application until your fee is paid. If you have a friend in the United States, he/she can pay your fee for you.

What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for admission to the UF graduate physics program?

University of Florida Graduate School regulations prevent us from admitting applicants with a GPA below 3.0. Applicants with a GPA below 3.25 should be really exceptional in some respect to be given full consideration.

Is there a minimum TOEFL score?

See the information posted by the Office of Admissions. The Graduate School of the University of Florida requires a score of at least 80 on the internet version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We pay particular attention to the spoken English portion of the TOEFL: Students with spoken English scores below 23 are unlikely to be offered a teaching assistantship by the Physics Department.

I have not yet taken the [TOEFL or GRE] test but the admissions application deadline is approaching. Can I take the test now and submit my scores late?

The University of Florida Office of Admissions requires GRE scores for all applicants and TOEFL scores for most international applicants. We are not permitted to admit any student whose complete application has not been received by the Admissions Office – and this includes submission of test scores. The Physics Department highly recommends the Physics GRE score.

I have a three-year baccalaureate degree in physics. Can I apply to your PhD program?

Students holding a diploma from one of the 46 European nations that participate in the Bologna Process will typically qualify for admission to our PhD program. All other students must possess a recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or an international equivalent based on a four-year curriculum. See the Office of Admissions website for details.

Can you tell me if all of my application materials have been received?

When you complete the online application you will receive login information that will allow you to verify the receipt of your application materials by the UF Office of Admissions. The Physics Department does not have an online system for checking application status, nor do we have sufficient staff to research all of the queries that we receive regarding application status. Therefore please understand that we cannot verify the receipt of individual applications. Please refer to the table on our Admissions website to check that you have sent all the required items.

I have already taken the GRE and TOEFL but I have not yet received my official score reports. I am worried that the official reports will not arrive before your application deadline. What should I do?

The University of Florida Office of Admissions requires GRE scores for all applicants and TOEFL scores for most international applicants. We cannot admit any student whose complete application has not been received by the Admissions Office – and this includes submission of test scores. Therefore please ask ETS to send an official score report to the University of Florida Office of Admissions (institution code 5812).

How many students do you usually accept each year?

In recent years each incoming class has brought 15-20 new students. Our graduate program presently enrolls about 130 graduate students.

What percentage of International students do you accept?

A rough average over the last several years gives approximately 50% international students.

How many years do students in the UF program typically take to complete their degree?

The average time to the PhD degree has recently been about 5.5 years. This is the average for US physics programs overall.

What is a joint degree program?

Refers to programs involving more than one academic department, e.g. political science and law. Although there are no formal joint degree programs in the physics graduate program, many students receive interdisciplinary training as a part of their PhD studies.

What is a 3/2 program?

The 3/2 program refers to a 5-year program in which a student obtains a bachelor’s and master’s degree as part of one package. Prospective physics graduate students who already have a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) do not qualify for this program. If you do qualify for this program and are interested in this degree path, you must contact the Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Physics for advice about your possible plans.

I am not a physics major. Can I still apply for admission to your graduate program?

Yes. Many students apply with an undergraduate major in another area of math, science, or engineering. We do not restrict our admissions to physics majors. But keep in mind that the admissions committee will look for evidence of solid undergraduate preparation in physics. If you have not taken many upper-division physics courses you may be at a disadvantage. If you are lacking many of the core subjects (e.g. electromagnetism, thermal physics, mechanics, quantum mechanics) you will have a difficult time in any physics graduate program. A weak undergraduate preparation in physics may also affect your performance on the physics GRE, which is a required component of your application. But generally, if you have done well overall in any undergraduate program with a strong math and physics component, then you may be a good candidate for admission.