1255 N. Horseshoe Drive, MSC 3D, Box 30001, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003, United States of America

New Mexico State University - Department of Physics

1255 N. Horseshoe Drive, MSC 3D, Box 30001, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003, United States of America


Physicists study the basic principles and laws that govern the natural world. We engage in scientific and technological challenges, perform cutting-edge research, and discover new properties and conditions of space, time, energy, force and matter!

The small size of the graduate program creates an intimate atmosphere where students are known to and receive personal attention by the entire faculty. There is an active graduate student organization that sponsors outreach events and organizes seminars and other educational activities. The area is popular with those who appreciate spicy, Southwestern cuisine with a strong south-of-the-border influence. Much of it is based on locally-grown chiles, developed specifically for this area by the renowned NMSU Chile Pepper Institute. This part of the country is also popular with those who like outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and nature photography.

The university was ranked No. 1 in the country for federal research-and-development funding in science and engineering among minority-serving institutions. The Physics Department has an active and expanding, both federally and privately funded, research program, on-campus and in several national labs: Los Alamos, Fermilab, Brookhaven, Sandia, and Oak Ridge. We collaborate with hundreds of researchers from many universities and research institutions in the US and around the world. Four new faculty members were added within the last five years, with arrangements that allow expanded research time and opportunities; they are initiating exciting new directions in particle and nuclear physics; condensed-matter physics; and geophysics. The graduate student body is ethnically and culturally diverse, with students from 13 different foreign countries in addition to several states around the US.

Las Cruces is a small, quiet, and very affordable city in the southern part of the state. Many students who choose not to live on campus find housing within easy walking distance from the department, which is located at the edge of the campus. Various amenities and shopping areas are close by. A big city, El Paso, is also only 50 miles away on Interstate 10, providing additional cultural and entertainment options.

Program Requirements

Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 semester credits, of which at least 21 credits are in formal courses, including one laboratory course; a minimum residence requirement of two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate work; no foreign language required; overall GPA of at least 3.0 at the time of application for admission to candidacy. Several program options available: (1) thesis, qualifying examination, and final oral exam; (2) successful completion of doctoral comprehensive exam; and (3) course work option (at least 27 credits in formal courses) and successful completion of qualifying exam and final oral exam.

At least 36 credits in formal courses and a minimum of 72 total credits of graduate work are required. These include 24 credits of graduate core courses and one laboratory course; foreign language not required; qualifying examination, comprehensive exam, dissertation, and final oral on dissertation required; a minimum residence requirement of two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate work.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

There is an active Physics Graduate Students Organization that hosts the Physics Fair with public demos and graduate student seminars. During the two departmental picnics, in Fall and Spring, various awards are presented to students and to faculty and stuff. Members of the faculty contribute to the city's cultural life, including the annual "Mesilla Jazz Happening." Among the favorite activities for both students and faculty is hiking in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Another popular destination is the twice-a-year wine festival at La Vina Winery in nearby La Union.