We welcome applications from students who have earned bachelor’s degrees in accredited institutions. 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.

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Priority Deadline

Fall 2020 Applications: January 3, 2020

In exceptional cases, we will accept US applications until June 25 and international applications until March 1.

Fee Waiver

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 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 and $85 for all others.

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. Applicants should arrange to have Graduate Record Examination test scores sent to the NC State Graduate School. In special circumstances, the Physics Admission Committee may relax this requirement if requested to do so. The physics subject test is strongly recommended. Candidates with complete test scores (including the physics subject test) generally have an increased likelihood of acceptance into the graduate program.
  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.

Campus Visits

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.

Official Notification of Admission

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.