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Application Instructions

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Graduate Program Application Instructions

The application dealine was January 15, 2021. Due to a high volume of applications no late or incomplete submissions will be accepted. A complete application packet includes letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Students offered admission will need to submit their official transcripts. International applicants must review language criteria and submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores.  See full application details in How to Apply.

Admission Standards

Prior to commencing graduate study, applicants must have received a bachelor's degree from an accredited institute, college, or university. Although no single field of undergraduate specialization is required, applicants to the Physics PhD program must have a thorough undergraduate background in the Sciences, and are expected to have mastered basic material in the following areas: Mathematics (calculus through differential equations), Physics, Chemistry (inorganic), and, possibly, Biology if needed in preparation for the focus of the intended graduate studies (e.g. in Astronomy or Biophysics). College physics - intermediate level Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Statistical Mechanics, and Quantum Mechanics - will be especially important in determining your preparation for graduate studies.

All aspects of an application will be thoroughly considered during the holistic evaluation process. Applicants should have a grade point average equivalent to 3 or better on a 4-point scale in their Bachelor or Master

degree courses. Subject area course grades above 3.5 and/or a trend of increasing GPA are considered positive indicators for applications.

International applicants should be aware of University requirements for English language proficiency. This link provides more information. 


Master's Degree Applicants

Students interested in a Master's degree must contact before applying to our program.  Our graduate program is currently structured to support PhD-seeking students and MS-seeking students must communicate with the graduate program coordinator prior to being considered for admission. 

Application Procedures

The Department of Physics & Astronomy requires all PhD applicants to submit all application materials including transcripts online through the ApplyYourself system. Following is a list of material that needs to be completed and submitted through ApplyYourself for the review process. 

  1. Completed Application: Read the ApplyYourself application carefully. Omitted information can delay the processing of your application. Allow processing time of four to six weeks in the Admissions Office. Please select the Physics & Astronomy department on the appropriate line of your application.
  2. Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts are acceptable to complete the admissions application and can be scanned or e-mailed directly to For foreign institutions, include transcripts in the original language and official English translations if the original language is not English. Immediately upon admission to the program, official copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to Admissions directly by the institution in a sealed envelope or via an approved ETS provider. The Admission Committee will take into consideration the impact of COVID-19 on grades including N/NP, C/NC, and withdrawals. 
  3. Letters of Recommendation: The Physics & Astronomy Department will review at least three but not more than five letters of personal reference from course instructors, research supervisors, or employers who are familiar with your abilities and performance. The reference should use Recommendation Form #1 in ApplyYourself
  4. Personal Statement: The Personal Statement includes three parts, two pertaining to the applicant's Statement of Purpose in which the applicant is asked to (1) Tell something related to physics or astronomy that they find exciting; (2) Discuss their goals for graduate school and their future careers, and how these goals match the opportunities offered by the research programs in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
    If possible, in part (2), applicants should identify specific faculty contacts and/or research programs of interest within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Applicants should also address in this part of the personal statement how their backgrounds and life experiences have contributed to  their decision to pursue a graduate degree. (500 words maximum for each part, a total of 1000 words.)
    Part (3) of the personal statement is a table listing relevant courses that the applicant has taken in their undergraduate or previous studies which have prepared them for graduate studies at the University of Utah's Department of Physics and Astronomy. Please list for each course: the course title, the grade, and the name of the institution. List these relevant courses in a table, ordered into three categories: (i) Lower division undergraduate studies; (ii) Upper division and/or graduate level general physics courses; (iii) Upper division and/or graduate level physics courses of specialization (e.g. condensed matter physics, atomic and molecular physics, high energy physics, biophysics, etc). Do not list courses in this table which have not directly prepared you for your intended physics graduate studies such as a general education course.
  5. Financial Assistance: If you are applying for financial assistance, please indicate this on the ApplyYourself application form. The Department of Physics and Astronomy intends to be able to provide research or teaching assistantships for all qualifying PhD applicants. During the first 10 semesters of PhD study, The University of Utah Graduate School or the Department of Physics and Astronomy will provide a tuition waiver for semesters when a graduate student receives one of these assistantships.
  6. GRE Scores: Neither the General GRE nor the Physics GRE are required. The GRE section of the Apply Yourself application is optional and scores will not be considered in the evaluation.
  7. For International Applicants Only: TOEFL scores: An official report of scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System are mandatory as part of the application. All test dates must be within two years of admission for scores to be valid. Read the full list of requirements from Admissions prior to requesting an exception.

Application review begins in mid-January and continues through February. Incomplete applications are not considered. The recommendations of the Admissions Committee are sent to the Graduate Admissions Office of the University of Utah. The formal decision on admission is made by the University's Graduate Admissions Office, which will then notify you directly of its decision. Please note that on rare occasions the Graduate Admissions Office may decide against the recommendation of the Physics & Astronomy Department; consequently the letter from the Physics & Astronomy Department does not constitute formal acceptance. A complete list of application requirements can be found here.

Please submit ALL required materials via:

ApplyYourself Online Graduate Application

Upon admission, ALL official transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope to:

Office of Admissions
The University of Utah
201 South 1460 East, Room 250s
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

or via approved Electronic Transcript Services: 

Official TOEFL scores should be sent through ETS using the following codes:

ETS Codes

TOEFL inst. 4853 - dept. 76 (under "Physical Sciences")

For more information about the application process, requirements, financial aid, etc., see our Graduate Handbook. If you have any questions regarding admissions to the University of Utah, please contact:


Thank you, and we hope to hear from you soon!


The University of Utah is fully committed to policies of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity, and vigorously pursues affirmative action in all programs, activities, and employment with regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, and status as a handicapped individual.

Religion, sexual orientation, and status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era also are protected under nondiscrimination and equal opportunity employment policies. Evidence of practices not consistent with this policy should be reported to the Office of the President of the University, 801-581-8365. Any false or misleading information provided in the support of this application may result in dismissal from the Graduate School.

Last Updated: 3/9/21