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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Apply to Grad Program

How to Apply to our Physics Graduate Program

What We Look For

  • a baccalaureate degree in physics or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing. We consider applications from non-physics majors with  high Physics GRE score
  • adequate preparation for graduate study of physics as witnessed by an academic transcript of undergraduate courses
  • fluent command of the English language—foreign students for whom English is a second language should submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • evidence of promise in advanced study and research
  • three strong letters of recommendation, at least two from professors in a position to write about your fitness for graduate work in physics
  • the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and the GRE Physics Subject Test is required for all applicants
  • students of any race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or ethnic origin

Application Process

All application materials must be received by Syracuse no later than January 15, for highest consideration. All supporting documents, including academic transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation, must be received by this date. We occasionally consider applications submitted past the deadline, though chances of admission are considerably lower. It is preferred that you submit all items online. Please do not submit a document more than once. If it has been submitted online, please do not send another copy in the mail. The following must be completed when applying:

Grad School Application Complete the Syracuse Graduate School Application on-line. Indicate that your Program Title is “Physics, Ph.D.” As described in the Application Guidelines, the Graduate School also asks you to submit a Statement of Purpose, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Follow the physics-specific instructions below for these application materials. The application fee is $75.  

Letters of Recommendation Select with care the three persons you ask to write letters of recommendation in support of your application. At least two must be professors of physics who are well acquainted with your preparation and fitness for graduate work. It is preferred that these letters are submitted online.  

Statement of Purpose Write a Statement of Purpose. Your statement should include a description of any previous research or teaching experience, indicating the nature of the work, the institution where the work was performed, and the name and title of the person directing it. Also indicate any interest you have in particular areas of physics, and your professional aims after you receive your Ph.D. It is fine to be inclusive in your future options. If you choose to be very narrow concerning your interests, please make sure that you really mean it since your admission probability may be affected.  

Transcripts Please scan and upload one PDF file, including all of  your transcripts, into the online application. Your transcript(s) should be an official one issued to you by your university and then scanned to make a PDF. It must be legible and provide a course title eg “Phys 4310 Advanced Mechanics“. Please do not send screen shots from an online database. Please do not email fall grades received after the application deadline, unless specifically requested. If you accept an offer of admission, you will be required to submit an official paper transcript prior to matriculation.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Take the Graduate Record Exam AND the GRE Physics Subject test. Ensure that your scores are officially reported by the Educational Testing Service to the Syracuse Graduate School (Institution Code: #2823, Department  Code: either #0808 or #0899). Scores are due by the January 15 application deadline. If you are not able to self-report your unofficial scores on the application before the deadline, please email a copy of your unofficial score report to, as soon as you receive it. On rare occasions, we consider applications without complete GRE scores; however, admission chances are substantially lower. Please do not wait until December to take these exams. Note: If your name on the exam does not match your name on the application, please notify us of the discrepancy.  

TOEFL The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for applicants whose native language is not English. Scores must be officially reported by the Educational Testing Service to the Syracuse Graduate School (Institution Code #2823, Department Code #76).  Scores must arrive by the January 15 deadline. Note: If your name on the exam does not match your name on the application, please notify us of the discrepancy.

International students offered admission as a teaching assistant will also be expected to meet the oral proficiency outlines from ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) at the “Intermediate High” level. This test will be administered at Syracuse upon matriculation. A writing sample is not required, though there is space for one in the application.  

Admissions Decisions All admissions decisions for applications for fall will be made by mid-April. The majority of decisions will be made in February and early March. We regret that due to the number of files received and reviewed by the Admissions Committee each year, we are unable to provide feedback on individual applications. All decisions of the Syracuse Physics Admissions Committee are final.

**Still have more questions? Click on the following link for a list of Questions & Answers about our admissions process: Admissions Q&A Sheet

...OR start your application!