Orange Alert

Skip to main content
Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Graduate Study

professor and student working on scientific equipment

Graduate Degree Programs

Welcome to the graduate program in the Department of Physics, Syracuse University! I would like to thank you for taking the time to take a look at our program.

Graduate study here provides a stimulating environment for students who work closely with distinguished faculty members on leading edge research projects. Physics attempts to understand how the world works; from the very small scales inside the nucleus of an atom to the very largest scales in the Universe; from the behavior of the most basic constituents of matter to the rich and diverse phenomena that arise when many simple components interact together. We have internationally recognized research groups working in all of these areas; from soft condensed matter and biological physics to elementary particle physics and cosmology and the search for gravitational waves. You can find out more by looking at our individual research group pages and by writing to individual faculty to find out what specific opportunities are currently available for prospective graduate students.

We primarily admit students for the Ph.D. degree. This requires some course work leading to the qualifying examination which is usually taken at the end of the first year of graduate study. From the beginning students are encouraged to become involved in research by talking to faculty and engaging in both formal and informal work in individual research groups. Most students will have located a research advisor by the end of their second year.

The Department of Physics at Syracuse University offers programs leading to a Ph.D in Physics with an optional M.S. degree. Our faculty are engaged in research in experimental particle physics, theoretical particle physics and cosmology, experimental condensed matter and biological physics, theoretical condensed matter physics, computational physics, experimental astrophysics and cosmology, medium energy physics and experimental gravitational wave physics.

We have approximately 30 faculty and 75 graduate students together with numerous postdoctoral fellows connected with different research groups. Our department has a diverse international flavor, featuring high-caliber faculty, students and postdocs from all corners of the world. The graduate program is designed to provide a stimulating environment for students to work closely with distinguished faculty members on leading-edge research projects. Graduate student progress is carefully monitored. We realize that many students will go on to careers outside of academics and every effort is made to educate students about the wide variety of career paths available to physicists with advanced degrees. Our graduate alumni work all over the world in academic and industrial positions of all kinds.


Through a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and University fellowships the department provides full tuition scholarships, salaries, and student medical insurance for essentially all graduate students. Every applicant will be considered for a TA.

All students who are admitted are offered TA support for their first two years at Syracuse. Additionally a number of University and STEM fellowships are sometimes available. If you would like to visit, please contact us ( to arrange for a tour of the department. We also hold an open day for prospective students in the Spring of each year where students can talk to faculty and current students, and tour the department's labs and facilities.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Although we will accept applications until all available slots are filled, those received by January 15th of any given year get the greatest consideration for the fall term. Details regarding the application process can be found on our application instructions page. For further questions concerning application to the Physics graduate program please contact

Mitchell Soderberg, Director of Graduate Studies

Ph.D. in Physics

The Ph.D. degree is awarded to students who complete a minimum of 48 credits of graduate- level coursework, pass a two-part qualifying examination, pass a research oral examination on the student’s proposed research, complete a written thesis based upon original research, and pass a thesis defense examination.

M.S. in Physics

The degree can be achieved in any of three ways: (a) a thesis (involving 6 credits of PHY 997) in addition to 24 credits of regular course- work; (b) a minor problem (involving PHY 890) and passing the qualifying examination with 30 credits of regular coursework; or (c) passing the qualifying examination with 36 credits of regular coursework.