Graduate Program Application

Priority Deadline for Fall 2021 Applications: January 7, 2021
In exceptional cases, we will accept US applications until June 25 and international applications until March 1. Prospective Graduate Student FAQ

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We welcome applications from students who will have earned bachelor’s degrees at accredited institutions by Fall 2020. The majority of our applicants major in physics in their undergraduate education, but some obtain their degrees in related fields such as electrical engineering or mathematics. The department has on occasion admitted interested students who focused on social sciences or even humanities as undergraduates.

US citizens and applicants with degrees from US universities are considered US applicants for our review process. A fee waiver is available (See tab below). The following application materials are required:
  1. Certified undergraduate transcripts must be sent directly from the undergraduate institution to the NC State Graduate School. Transcripts must be received from all undergraduate institutions that the applicant attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation must be included from people qualified to judge the prospective student’s ability to succeed in graduate school.
  3. Applicants will submit a CV and candidate statement. The candidate statement should describe why the applicant is pursuing a graduate degree, what research experience and accomplishments the candidate has obtained, and list possible research interests and advisers. The candidate should address special or unusual aspects of their educational career.
  4. Show us your strengths. Applicants are able to submit additional materials at their discretion. For instance, applicants include publications or copies of posters that were presented at scientific meetings, or GRE test scores if available.

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For 2020 admission, we will waive the application fee for the first 100 applicants who are U.S. citizens with an undergraduate GPA higher than 3.0. If you wish to use this waiver:
  • Submit the application, and stop when you reach a payment screen.
  • Email py-grad-program@ncsu.edu and tell us that you have submitted the application. We will then pay the fee for you without any further steps required from you.

Non-waived fees are $75 for U.S. citizens who do not meet the criteria above.


Requested Application Materials
  1. Certified undergraduate transcripts must be sent directly from the undergraduate institution to the NC State Graduate School. Transcripts must be received from all undergraduate institutions that the applicant attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation must be included from people qualified to judge the prospective student’s ability to succeed in graduate school. These can be submitted electronically via the application system or via hard copy to the Department of Physics Graduate Office.
  3. We understand that it is currently not possible to take GRE Subject tests. If you have prior test results, we will be able to consider them, but do not require submission.
  4. English language proficiency may be demonstrated through any one of the following
    • Citizenship in the United States or another English-speaking country (e.g., Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa)
    • Earning a college degree in an English-speaking country such as those listed above.
    • Passing the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a score of 80 or above.
  5. Applicants will submit a CV and candidate statement. The candidate statement should describe why the applicant is pursuing a graduate degree, what research experience and accomplishments the candidate has obtained, and possible research interests and advisers. Finally the candidate should address special or unusual aspects of their educational career.
  6. Applicants are able to submit additional materials at their discretion. For instance, these include publications or copies of posters that were presented at scientific meetings.
  7. The graduate school levies $85 for applications by international applicants.

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We will invite prospective students currently living in the United States to one of our campus visits, which are typically in late February and early March. During this visit, you will have the opportunity to interact with faculty and current students. Invitations will be sent out after initial review, and travel costs for invited students will be covered by the graduate program. For international students, we usually conduct Skype or telephone interviews.

While a visit at this time is preferable, students who wish to schedule a personalized visit should contact the Graduate Programs Office to set up the visit and indicate if they would like to emphasize one specific area of physics in their laboratory and office visits with our faculty. With a faculty of 43 and a day that can incorporate only a handful of visits, only a cross-section of our faculty can meet with each prospective student. The Graduate Programs Office can tailor a prospective student’s visit around one or two specific areas (such as nanotechnology, optics, computational physics, materials physics, nuclear physics or astrophysics) or schedule a tour that provides a broad sampling of many of our research areas.


Admission to the Graduate Physics Program at NC State is granted by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the Physics Department Admissions Committee. Official notification of admission is made by the graduate school, and the terms of the admission are provided by the department.