Our department provides comprehensive and rigorous instruction, as well as research facilities and guidance in selected specialties for advanced individual scholarly work.

Research Opportunities for Graduate Students: Students choose from a wide range of research areas, including many that are interdisciplinary. Our research labs are superbly equipped. Our students also use the world's leading off-campus facilities, including accelerators, observatories, and spacecraft.

Our internationally recognized faculty includes: Twelve Fellows of the American Physical Society, two Fellows of the American Geophysical Union, one Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences Our Research Funding from External Agencies: $18.3 million for fiscal year 2020; this provides abundant funds for support of graduate student research programs.

Degrees Offered: - M.S. Astronomy - M.S. Physics - Ph.D. Physics - Ph.D. (Astronomy track)

Program Requirements

Thirty hours of coursework and research with a grade point average of at least 3.00 and an oral final examination are required. Thesis or critical essay options are available. No foreign language requirement is specified. The residence requirement may be fulfilled by completing a minimum of 24 semester hours under the auspices of The University of Iowa.

A minimum of 72 hours of coursework and research with a grade point average of at least 3.00, comprehensive examination, participation in advanced seminars, and original research are required for the Ph.D. A candidate for the degree will not be recommended until he/she has written the dissertation in proper form for formal publication and has submitted it, with the approval of the research advisor, for publication to a standard scientific journal of wide distribution. There is no specific foreign language requirement. Beyond the first 24 semester hours of graduate work, the residence requirement may be fulfilled by either: (1) enrollment as a full-time student (nine semester hours minimum) in each of two semesters or (2) enrollment for a minimum of six semester hours in each of three semesters during which time the student holds at least a one-third-time assistantship certified by the Department as contributing to the student's doctoral program.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Recommended
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

The Department of Physics and Astronomy, with 31 faculty members, offers a wide range of research areas for students, including many that are interdisciplinary. Our internationally recognized faculty includes four fellows of the American Physical Society, two fellows of the American Geophysical Union, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. We have an annual welcome to the school year party, holiday party, and spring picnic for faculty, staff and graduate students in the park. Both students and faculty participate in outreach events on campus and off-campus through our Hawk-Eyes on Science and Hawkeyes in Space programs.

Iowa City is consistently voted as one of the best places to live in the U.S. by everyone from Outside Magazine to the American Institute for Economic Research–and with good reason. It’s a community that takes pride in openness, inclusion, and safety. It’s a place where everyone’s welcome.
But it’s also a cultural hub, a gathering place for artists of every medium, the home of some of America’s most inventive minds, and so much more. Iowa City is one of just 20 UNESCO Cities of Literature in the world, and the only one in the U.S, establishing it as an international destination for creative thinkers. That energy fills the streets, creating a vibrant place that we love to call home.