The most recent ranking of physics departments by the National Research Council places Ohio State (approximately) 24th nationally and 13th among public universities.

At The Ohio State University you will find the faculty, facilities, and financial support to help you achieve your goals. We offer you a solid foundation in physics that includes course work in a diverse range of specializations covering every facet of contemporary physics research.

Our faculty members conduct research in a broad range of areas, including astrophysics; atomic, molecular and optical physics; biophysics; condensed matter physics; high energy physics; string theory; nuclear physics; and physics education. The Ohio State University Department of Physics has recruited a nationally and internationally distinguished faculty that has garnered numerous awards.

The department is proud to claim two Nobel Laureates and a National Academy of Sciences member, two Max Planck Award winners, four chaired professors, three Distinguished University Professors, and 16 winners of young investigator awards, including the Presidential Young Investigator, National Young Investigator, and Outstanding Junior Investigator award. The department is committed to diversity in science and welcomes members of underrepresented groups.

We offer one of the friendliest environments for graduate study in physics anywhere and host a number of social events for graduate students every year, including parties, picnics, and receptions.

Program Requirements

The master's degree can be earned as a part of the general (candidacy) examination for the Ph.D. The department requires a minimum GPA of 3.3 in the Physics 6 course core curriculum.

Students must complete 80 credit hours of graduate-level coursework including research for the dissertation; of this amount, 30 hours may be transferred from a master's degree at OSU. Students must pass the candidacy examination and have a GPA of 3.3 in the Physics core curriculum, and must satisfactorily complete an oral final examination on the dissertation and submit the dissertation to graduate. There is no language requirement.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

We have designed the graduate program in physics to give you a solid background in the fundamentals, an understanding of the major fields of current research, and an opportunity for in-depth investigations. Working with your faculty adviser, you can tailor your program to meet your own needs and interests, taking into account your particular goals and undergraduate preparation. In the Ph.D. program, you will devote most of your first year and some of your second year to coursework. These courses are designed to strengthen and extend your knowledge of the theoretical foundations of physics and to introduce you to areas of current interest in the field. During the summer following your first year, you will be encouraged to join one of the ongoing research programs in the department. Teaching associates with satisfactory records are offered special summer-term appointments free of teaching duties to enable them to take advantage of this opportunity to explore a research area early in their graduate careers. From your third year on, you will concentrate on carrying out your Ph.D. thesis research with your faculty research adviser. This work culminates in your Ph.D. thesis defense by about the fifth or sixth year.

The Physics Graduate Student Council (PGSC) is the representative body for physics graduate students at Ohio State. The PGSC is an active and engaged group that advocates and facilitates communication and activities between the department and graduate students on all matters of mutual interest, including graduate student representation on several departmental committees. The PGSC holds quarterly meetings and meets regularly with the department chair and vice chairs to discuss issues of concern to graduate students. The council also hosts regular social events (picnics, graduation receptions, etc.), mentors new graduate students (at both the individual and group levels), helps to publicize graduate student research opportunities, organizes an annual graduate student research poster competition and “core-course” faculty teaching awards, and generally enhances the social, academic, and research experience for all physics graduate students.

The Society of Women in Physics (SWiP) promotes the involvement of, career development for, and sense of community among the women in Ohio State’s Department of Physics and helps to increase awareness of issues related to women in physics among all members of the physics community at the university. SWiP organizes colloquia and workshops and supports independent outreach programs. Members work closely with undergraduate physics groups and high schools to extend the benefits of outreach activities and to provide mutually beneficial mentor-mentee connections between undergraduate and high school students and SWiP members. In addition, SWiP coordinates annual fundraising events to promote its mission in the broader Columbus community.