3400 N. Charles Street, 366 Bloomberg Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, United States of America

Johns Hopkins University

3400 N. Charles Street, 366 Bloomberg Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, United States of America


Graduate programs in physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University are among the top programs in the field. Students engage in original research starting in their first semester and have flexibility in choosing their course of research.

A wide range of research projects—both theoretical and experimental—are available in astrophysics, condensed matter physics, particle physics, and plasma spectroscopy. Graduate students can work toward a PhD in either physics or astronomy and astrophysics. Our doctoral students are prepared for careers in physics and astronomy research, teaching, or in applications such as biophysics, space physics, and industrial research. Graduate students at Johns Hopkins study and work in close collaboration with a world-renowned, award-winning physics and astronomy faculty, whose research is truly global. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, and they are full participants in the vibrant intellectual life of the department. Research leading to the dissertation can be carried out not only within the Department of Physics and Astronomy, but also in collaboration with other research centers. Recent dissertation research has been conducted with members of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Space Telescope Science Institute, and the Goddard Space Flight Center. Graduate students are involved in research projects beginning in their first semester at JHU. Students are free to explore different areas of research by working on short research projects with different advisers. A series of seminars, presentations and orientation events held in the fall semester help introduce students to the faculty in the department so that they can choose their first project. Such projects may last a semester or a year; they might become the prelude to their thesis work or may focus on a completely separate topic. In many cases, the projects lead to published research papers. By the end of their second year, students have typically completed their required graduate classes, have explored several different research directions and are in a good position to choose a thesis topic and a thesis advisor. Students start thesis research no later than fall of their 3rd year and graduate at the end of the 5th or 6th year. It is departmental policy that all graduate students in good standing are supported through fellowships, research assistantships and / or teaching assistantships for up to six years. The financial package covers the tuition and student health insurance, and provides a stipend commensurate with that of other leading research institutions. We have designed our graduate program in such a way that indeed most students earn their PhD in six years or less.

Program Requirements

+ Involvement in research in every semester in which the student is enrolled

+ Completion of four semesters of required courses below, passed with a grade of B- or better
***Physics Track***
AS.171.603 – Electromagnetic Theory
AS.171.605 & AS.171.606 – Quantum Mechanics I and Quantum Mechanics II
AS.171.703 – Advanced Statistical Mechanics
***Astronomy Track***
AS.171.611 – Stellar Structure and Evolution
AS.171.612 – Interstellar Medium and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
AS.171.613 – Radiative Astrophysics
AS.171.627 – Astrophysical Dynamics
AS.172.633 – Language of Astrophysics

+ Satisfactory performance at the departmental research exam at the beginning of the second year

+ Identification of a thesis adviser no later than the beginning of the third year
Satisfactory performance at the University Graduate Board Oral Exam in the fall of the third year

+ Completion of thesis research and satisfactory performance at the thesis defense
The thesis is expected to be completed within five or six years; continuation in the PhD program beyond the 6th year is possible only upon the approval of the department chair following petition from the thesis adviser.
GRE Requirements: Not Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Not Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

As members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, we are committed to foster an inclusive environment for all. This is a necessary condition to improve the well-being of students and employees so that they can realize their full potential. The moral obligation to strive for and sustain such an environment is also integral to the basic objectives of scientific inquiries. Scientific progress and revolutions are best achieved through diversity in ideas and novelty in methods. This requires having a diverse and varied set of practitioners from many different backgrounds from the US and international communities.