The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University offers graduate students the opportunity to do original research working side-by-side with world-renowned faculty.

We are large enough to include a wide range of research programs – from astronomy and cosmology to biological and medical physics, condensed matter / materials, and particle, nuclear and relativistic heavy-ion physics – all while remaining small enough to provide a friendly, welcoming environment.

The department presently has 27 full-time faculty, approximately an equal number of postdoctoral research associates, and about 60 graduate students. We offer programs leading to PhD degrees in Physics or Astrophysics (with options for earning MA or MS degrees in route to the PhD or by completing a Master’s thesis, respectively).

We invite you to first explore our website to learn more about our graduate degree programs and our department’s wealth of exciting research programs. We then invite you to contact us and to visit if you are able. Vanderbilt is located in the mid-town section of Nashville, Tennessee – a vibrant and growing city known for good reason as the “Athens of the South.” A visit is certainly the best way to experience Nashville’s vitality, our department’s welcoming spirit, and our faculty’s state-of-the-art research programs. We also invite you to apply to join our program. We are looking for motivated students who want to make an impact on our understanding of the universe.

Our students publish articles in top journals, attend national and international scientific conferences, and find careers in industry, academia and government laboratories. Graduate admissions are highly selective, but admitted students are offered 5-year packages of support with full tuition waivers, health insurance coverage and competitive stipends. We also pay for admitted domestic students to visit campus before accepting our offer to get a firsthand glimpse of the Vanderbilt experience.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for the next step on your educational journey. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more - and please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest accomplishments of our faculty and students.

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Program Requirements

Bachelor's degree requirements:
Bachelor's degree in Physics is required.

Minimum undergraduate GPA: 3.0
GRE Requirements: Required
Physics GRE Requirements: Required
TOEFL Requirements: Required

Description of your department culture

Our department is large enough to encompass all of the major research areas in physics, but small enough to provide a friendly, welcoming environment for students. We sponsor a monthly graduate student lunch with the faculty and provide a lounge for the use of the graduate students. Nashville is a vibrant city with numerous cultural attractions.