University of Illinois at Chicago

845 West Taylor Street, Room 2236, SES, MC 273, Chicago, Illinois 60607, United States of America


Our faculty members are currently conducting research and directing doctoral candidates in the major research areas of atomic, biological, condensed matter, materials, high-energy, nuclear, laser and molecular physics.

* The Department of Physics graduate program has approximately 90 graduate students enrolled in degree programs. Currently, all physics graduate students receive a full tuition waiver and reduced fees.

* The diverse population of students and academics from over 25 countries brings a world-wide perspective to our graduate program. The academic program offered by the department provides a comprehensive graduate-level physics foundation as well as advanced courses in specialized areas of research.

* Graduate students are supported as teaching assistants, research assistants or fellows at financial levels competitive with other major universities.

* Active physics research programs cover experimental and theoretical topics in the major research areas of biological, condensed matter, discrete dynamics, high-energy, materials, molecular, nuclear, soft condensed matter, and ultra-fast laser physics.

* The physics graduate program ensures all students are actively involved in the department and with the faculty in learning and research. Students typically earn their doctorate in the PhD program in five to seven years.

Program Requirements

The general requirement for the Master of Science is satisfactory completion of 32 semester hours of work in courses approved by the department. At least 20 of these hours must be at the 500 level; they must include Physics 501 and 502 (Electrodynamics) and Physics 511 and 512 (Quantum Mechanics), and may not include more than 4 hours of Physics 596 (Individual Study) or more than 8 hours of Physics 598 (Master's Thesis Research).

The minimum requirements for the Ph.D. are:

(1) The satisfactory completion of 96 semester hours of course work approved by the department, including at least 36 hours of 500-level courses, exclusive of Physics 596 (Individual Study) and 599 (Thesis Research). These 36 hours must include the sequence Physics 501 and 502 (Electrodynamics), Physics 511 and 512 (Quantum Mechanics), Physics 561 (Statistical Mechanics), at least one complete sequence chosen from among the following: Physics 521 and 522 (Molecular and Laser Physics), Physics 531 and 532 (Solid State Physics), Physics 551 and 552 (Elementary Particle Physics), Physics 513 and 514 (Quantum Field Theory), and five semesters of the Graduate Seminar, Physics 595.

(2) Satisfactory performance in a comprehensive qualifying examination consisting of 400-level problems on classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. This examination may be repeated once but must be passed no later than January of the student's second year in residence. Details on this examination are available from the department office.

(3) Satisfactory performance on an oral examination in the general area of the student's doctoral thesis research, which is to be taken within two years after passing the qualifying examination. The examination will normally start with a brief oral report by the student on his or her proposed research. If the performance is only marginally satisfactory, the student may be asked to retake the examination.

(4) Satisfactory completion and defense of a doctoral dissertation.

(5) Each student is required to serve as a teaching assistant for at least two semesters.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Recommended
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

UIC Physics is a close-knit department where faculty and students interact inside and outside of the classroom and research environment. Whether in the main office getting (good) coffee, or at pre-colloquium refreshments, or through regular brown-bag lunches, the department fosters an open environment and collegial engagement.

We host a variety of activities for the benefit of students including: department colloquia given by scientists and faculty from around the country; an alumni colloquium where a notable alumni meets with students and gives a talk on their current work; a departmentally sponsored "Physics Festival" day where classes are cancelled and a full program of presentations by students and faculty is given; a graduate student and faculty forum to discuss relevant issues; brown-bag lunches with faculty and students; an extensive orientation for new students; a senior graduate student led mentoring program to help prepare new students for qualifying exams. Graduate students are also provided with offices for their work.

On the social side, the department hosts a picnic for all department members in the fall and an end-of-the year get-together in the spring. Faculty members have also taken graduate students on tours at local laboratories, such as Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory.

The Department of Physics is ideally located to take advantage of all that the world-class city of Chicago has to offer: Greek town starts one block north; little Italy one block west; Maxwell Street is one block south; the Pilsen neighborhood is two blocks south; a short walk (or bus ride) east lies the Chicago downtown loop area, Millennium Park, museums, and the lake Michigan shoreline; and Chinatown is a short CTA bus or "L" train ride south-east.