The Physics Department is made up of twenty-three faculty members, who conduct research in the areas of condensed matter (theory and experiment), particle physics (theory and experiment), biophysics, and astrophysics and cosmology.

The Physics department at University of California at Santa Cruz prides itself on its research and student-focused program. Please visit our website and contact our faculty and staff if you would like any additional information or have any questions.

Program Requirements

Coursework plus a master's thesis or qualifying examinations are required.

Oral qualifying examination and a dissertation are required.
GRE Requirements: Not Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Not Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

Located along the scenic northern California coastline, the Physics department at University of California at Santa Cruz offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and/or the Ph.D. degrees. The department boasts outstanding research programs in theoretical and experimental particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, and condensed matter physics. We have strong programs in biophysics and materials physics (including organic pholtovoltaics). We are a research and student-centered program that prepares our students to research and engage with many areas of Physics at the highest level.

The recent NRC rankings of Physics departments ranked UCSC among top Physics Departments in the U.S. (along with several other UCSC science departments), and in recent years, UCSC faculty have won numerous major awards (Onsager Prize, Raman Prize, Lilienfeld Prize, Sakurai Prize Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences). The faculty numbers several leaders of the U.S. science program (former director of the FERMI satellite, Chair of the DOE's Particle Physics Prioritization Panel, and leader of the ATLAS upgrade at CERN). At the same time, we provide, in an extraordinary setting, an excellent environment for graduate students. A recent national survey of over 32,000 graduate students and recent Ph.D.'s gave UCSC's Physics Department "the highest rating for overall student satisfaction of any physics program in the country." Some of the criteria for that ranking included "mentoring, program climate, and controlling the time it takes to earn a degree."

Physics students and faculty use a number of UCSC research facilities: Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP), University of California Observatories (headquartered at UCSC), Institute of Marine Sciences, and the Institute of Tectonics. There is strong interaction with other disciplines, especially astronomy and astrophysics, biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, electrical engineering, and mathematics. Proximity to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory provides additional local research opportunities. UCSC faculty and graduate students are actively working at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (ATLAS experiment), the NASA Fermi Satellite and conducting research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA Ames, NREL, Lucent, Xerox, IBM, Bell Labs, and other national and international laboratories.