the University's Quad, a large green space at the center of campus.
The Quad, the central green space on the UA campus.

Before You Apply

We encourage you to explore these websites to learn more about our programs:

For a research profile of our department, read our Research Overview. Additional general information about the department can be found in this department fact sheet (PDF).

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission include a combined verbal plus quantitative score of at least 300 on the general GRE (1000 on the prior scoring system); this GRE score must be less than five years old at the time of enrollment.

For applicants whose first language is not English, we require a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test (PBT) or 213 on the computer-based test (CBT) or 79 on the internet-based test (iBT) or an iELTS score of at least 6.5; these scores need to be less than two years old at the time of enrollment. If you have received a degree from a U.S. institution within three years of the time of enrollment, a TOEFL score is not necessary.

Further information and application requirements can be found at  UA Graduate School. Please also refer to:

Application Requirements

A complete application consists of the following:

  1. Completed applicant data sheet
  2. Payment of the application fee
  3. Statement of purpose (see the section “Statement of Purpose” for details)
  4. Resume or CV
  5. Three letters of recommendation (which can be uploaded electronically by the letter writers)
  6. Transcripts from all universities attended previously
  7. General GRE score (a Physics GRE score is requested if available, but not required)
  8. TOEFL/IELTS score (if applicable)

Starting the Application Process

You can start the application process at the University of Alabama Graduate School’s website, http://graduate.ua.edu/application, and follow the instructions on that site regarding the documents you upload (statement of purpose, resume/CV, unofficial scans of transcripts and scores) and the documents that must be sent through official channels to the Graduate School (official transcripts and scores).

IMPORTANT: It is very helpful if you upload unofficial copies (scans are fine) of your transcripts, GRE, and TOEFL scores online under Other Documents of your online application form. This allows the admissions committee to examine these documents before the official versions sent from your university’s registrar office or testing services are received and recorded by the Graduate School.

Statement of Purpose

We will evaluate your statement of purpose very carefully. Your statement of purpose should clearly describe how an advanced degree in physics or astronomy relates to your career goals. Please state if you have a clear preference for a particular area of research and whether your inclinations are more theoretical, experimental, or observational. If you are considering a range of possible research areas, please describe them. Our Research Overview summarizes departmental research projects and collaborations; individual faculty members’ research interests are described on their webpages, which you can find via our department directory.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the due date for applications?

In order to be considered for all university fellowships it is best to have all application materials received by December 15. To receive full consideration for departmental support via graduate teaching or research assistantships, all application materials should be received by February 15. We will continue to accept applications after February 15, although there is no guarantee that we will have positions available after this date, so it is best to apply as early as possible.

Do I need to have a bachelor’s degree in physics or astronomy to be eligible for admission?

While we do not automatically require a bachelor’s in physics to be eligible for admission, we are looking for evidence that our applicants are prepared for graduate level physics. This is usually indicated to us by good grades in upper level undergraduate physics classes — two semesters of electricity and magnetism, two semesters of quantum mechanics, thermal physics, and classical mechanics. If you have not taken these classes as part of your degree, but have studied upper level physics on your own, we would require a Physics GRE score (most likely at the 50th percentile or higher) to consider your application in order for us to be assured that you were ready for graduate level physics. If you have not taken the above undergraduate physics courses, nor taken the Physics GRE, it is unlikely that we would consider your application for admission.

I am from a country where the bachelor’s program is only three years. Am I eligible for admission?

Students from certain countries, such as Nepal and some universities in India have a 3-year bachelor’s program plus a 2-year master’s program in physics. We require students at these universities to complete the 2-year master’s program to be eligible for admission in our program.

Can I apply to your program even if I have not completed all the requirements of my previous degree?

Yes, you can, but you will need to submit all materials demonstrating completion of your previous degree before you enroll here in January/August.

I am an international student. Do I need to submit an I-20 form when I apply?

No, this step is not necessary until after you receive an offer from us and intend to enroll.

I am an international student. Will I be able to get help navigating the visa process?

There is a significant international presence in the community, and help is available in obtaining visas.

For More Information

If you have additional questions about the department or the application process please contact us at physgrad@ua.edu.