108 Lewis Hall, PO Box 1848, University, Mississippi 38677, United States of America

University of Mississippi

108 Lewis Hall, PO Box 1848, University, Mississippi 38677, United States of America


The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers Master’s and PhD degrees in Physics, and all students admitted to our graduate program receive full financial support.

Founded in 1848, The University of Mississippi is the flagship university for the state of Mississippi. A world-class public research university, the institution has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics, and innovative research.

With more than 24,000 students, The University of Mississippi is the state’s largest university, with a major medical school, a nationally recognized law school, and 15 academic divisions. The University of Mississippi carries the R1 Carnegie designation reserved for doctoral universities with the highest level of research activity. It is also ranked as one of the best places to work by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The university is located in the historic town of Oxford, which has a long tradition as a hub for intellectual and artistic life in the US South. Oxford has a college-town atmosphere with wonderful live music, theater, bookstores, and restaurants. The town also boasts affordable housing and excellent public schools. In terms of quality of life, it is consistently ranked as one of the best small towns in America.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy department offers Master's and PhD degrees in Physics, and all students admitted to our graduate program receive full financial support. Support typically comes in the form of an assistantship, but the most competitive applicants may be awarded an additional fellowship from the department or from the Graduate School. The department offers exciting research opportunities in Atmospheric Physics, Gravitational Theory, High Energy Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, and Physical Acoustics.

Faculty members in Physical Acoustics are cross appointed at the National Center for Physical Acoustics, a unique facility that is located on The University of Mississippi campus. The University of Mississippi is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration that reported the historic first detection of gravitational waves. Graduate students play an active role in the life of the department. Members of the Physics Graduate Student Association (PGSA) organize a monthly journal club, publish a student research journal, and host an annual joint research symposium with physics students from Mississippi State University. The PGSA also sponsors regular social events.

Program Requirements

A Master of Arts degree requires 30 credit hours of suitable graduate course work. A Master of Science degree requires 24 hours of suitable graduate course work and 6 hours of thesis research. The degree program must be completed within six years.

A Ph.D. degree requires three years of study (54 credit hours), a minimum of two years (36 hours) of graduate study at the University of Mississippi, and a minimum of one year full-time graduate work beyond the Master's degree in continuous residence. An average grade of B or above is required for all course work. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination (written and oral) and dissertation prospectus defense are required. The preparation and defense of a dissertation are required. A foreign language is not required.
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Recommended
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

Once a month, the Kennon Observatory telescopes are pointed to the sky for public viewing. Faculty and graduate students entertain questions about the Universe.

For Halloween, the department hosts a Spooky Night of Physics Demonstrations at Lewis Hall. Early and late shows are enjoyed by a large number of families from the community each year.

QuarkNet is a nationwide program, ultimately involving universities and laboratories across the US. The goal of the program is to bring high school students, physics teachers and particle physicists together to further physics education.

LIGO is a facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic gravitational waves and the measurement of these waves for scientific research. “Astronomy’s New Messengers: Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves” is a public introduction to gravitational waves and the work done at LIGO. The exhibit premiered at the 2010 World Science Festival in New York City. A smaller, swiftly portable version of the exhibit was featured at World Science Festival in 2009 and at the 2010 Science and Engineering Expo in Washington D.C.