Expected Background and Preparation for Applicants to the Physics PhD Program

Undergraduate Degree

Students applying to the PhD program are expected to have substantial undergraduate background in physics and typically hold a Bachelor's Degree in Physics, although in the past, students with degrees in engineering, mathematics, or other areas have been admitted. Candidates planning graduate study in physics should have completed at least (preferably, more than) 15 semester credit hours in undergraduate physics beyond introductory courses, as well as at least 6 credits of mathematics beyond college-level calculus.

Standardized Exams

All GRE exams are waived for applicants applying for fall 2023.

International students must take the TOEFL exam to demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. During the pandemic, other options are also available.  Please see the updates on the graduate school covid-19 updates. Please see the updates on the graduate school covid-19 updates. Further information for international students can be found on the graduate school webpages, here.

For further information about the GRE and TOEFL exams, contact the Educational Testing Service


During the pandemic, please see the graduate school covid-19 updates for other updates on the admission process and requirements.

More Information

For more information about the graduate program, useful links and other information return to the PhD Program page.  Be sure in particular to see our page on Essential Information for PhD Applicants.

For questions about the application process, please feel welcome to contact our Graduate Program Manager, Katie Bryant, at kjbryant@physics.umass.edu.