Illinois Physics is known for its dynamic, creative, and open intellectual culture. We take a holistic approach to training the next generation of brilliant scientists.

At Urbana, you don’t get mountains (elev. 222 ± 0.15 m) or ocean views (1410 km east). What you do get is a vibrant academic community located in a small cosmopolitan city in America’s heartland. In addition to doing world-class physics in a department recognized internationally for its excellence, you will have a chance to experience a rich and varied intellectual, cultural, and recreational environment in a safe community that maintains Midwestern traditions of friendliness and hospitality.

Program Requirements

See Academic information on website. Thirty-two hours of satisfactory (GPA 2.75/4.0) graduate course work required. All hours must be at the 400-level or higher. Sixteen of the 32 hours must be in physics, with at least 8 hours of them at the 500-level. At most, 8 hours of individual study may be counted toward the master's degree. At least 16 hours must be in courses meeting on the Urbana-Champaign campus; credit for graduate work taken elsewhere is by petition only. There is no foreign language requirement.

Ninety-six hours of satisfactory (2.75/4.0 GPA) graduate work. Part of these hours must be thesis work. There is no specific residence requirement, but 64 hours must be taken on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The qualifying examination (the "qual") tests the candidate's broad understanding of basic physics and his or her preparation to proceed to thesis research. A student must take and pass the qual by the beginning of the third semester of enrollment in our graduate program.

The preliminary examination (the "prelim") reviews the feasibility and appropriateness of a candidate's thesis research proposal. The prelim must be taken within the first two years of joining a research group.

The thesis is a comprehensive publication describing the independent research project and its results.

The final defense is an oral examination conducted by the candidate's thesis committee and based on the thesis, at which the candidate presents the results of his or her research.

There are no foreign language requirements.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Not Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

Physics Illinois is known for the "Urbana spirit," a culture of mutually supportive cross-disciplinary research initiatives to tackle long-standing problems at the forefront of physics. The department is intellectually broad and diverse and has a long history of productively reaching across disciplinary boundaries to researchers in chemistry, materials science and engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, bioengineering, and astronomy. The department is also noted for its friendliness; the Physics Graduate Student Association promotes many social activities for its members. The graduate physics program also has very active Women in Physics, Diversity, Grad-Undergrad Student Mentoring, and 1st-year Grad Student Peer Mentoring groups.