Physics & Astronomy Department

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Graduate Student Receiving Award

Dean Joshua Hamilton presents our department's Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award to Hadi Papei.

We offer Graduate Assistantships

Most graduate students in the program are supported by assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis.

  • Support is usually in the form of a 50%-time (20 hours per week) appointment and may either involve teaching or research.
  • Half-time appointments carry a tuition waiver up to the normal full-time Graduate School tuition, as well as health insurance at reduced premiums.
  • Duties of teaching assistants are typically a mixture of directing and grading introductory physics laboratory sections, assisting in active-learning classrooms, leading problem-solving help sessions for introductory physics courses, and homework and exam grading.
  • Duties of research assistants are determined by the sponsoring faculty member.
  • These appointments are most often made for the academic year (September through May).
  • Support for a second year is contingent upon satisfactory progress in the graduate program and satisfactory performance of assigned duties.

Mylan Radulovich Graduate Fellowship

Highly qualified applicants and returning students with outstanding academic performance in their first year will be considered for a Mylan Radulovich Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship was established by Mylan Radulovich (BA '60) and is awarded by the Department to one or more new or continuing graduate students. These awards are supplements to any academic year teaching or research assistantship stipend.

Research Expectations

Because of the importance the department attaches to the research aspect of the graduate program, every effort is made to see that students have financial support to pursue their research work for their thesis or project full-time during at least one summer.

To receive summer support:

  • Students first discuss research topics with the various faculty members.
  • After identifying a faculty advisor and topic for thesis or project work, students prepare a brief proposal for summer support of their work.
  • Funds available within the Swenson College of Science and Engineering, from the Graduate School, and from research grants are used to support as many deserving proposals as possible.
  • Students completing their first year are usually given highest priority.

Support for a second summer is less common, since students can typically satisfy program requirements within that timeframe when supported by an assistantship, although at least partial support has occasionally been provided to allow final completion of project or thesis work. The department usually has some summer support available in the form of summer teaching assistantships. Support for a second summer, when granted, is often in the form of such an assistantship.


The prerequisite for admission is a four-year undergraduate degree in physics or its equivalent. Students with degrees in closely related fields with significant physics and mathematics background and a keen interest in further physics training are routinely considered.

In making admissions decisions, several measures are taken into account, including the following:

  • Undergraduate grade point average (the Graduate School prefers an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4 point scale)
  • Undergraduate course selections
  • Performance on Graduate Record Exams when available. While the GRE general and subject results are not required, their submission is encouraged for students seeking financial support.

You can start your application by following this link.