- Description of the graduate programs
- Admission to the graduate program
- Support available for graduate students
- Special awards and prizes
- Related pages
The Department of Physics and Astronomy of Rutgers University is one of the largest in the country, with over 60 faculty members in the department, and over 70 members of the Graduate Program. With approximately 100 graduate students, the department has one of the best student/faculty ratios of any PhD granting program in the nation.
Major research efforts in the department are devoted to astronomy, theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics (including surface physics), theoretical and experimental nuclear physics, and theoretical and experimental high-energy physics.
Graduate programs offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy include curricula leading to the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Master of Science for Teachers (M.S.T ), which are conferred by the Graduate School-New Brunswick.
The doctoral program is designed to give students a broad understanding of classical and modern physics, with intensive training in one of the frontier areas of modern research. A thesis of original research is required to give the students experience in advancing themselves to the leading edge of an important area of physics. Students are encouraged to study several sub-disciplines of physics so that they will be prepared to apply their fundamental knowledge beyond the field of their thesis work. An astronomy option is available that allows students who intend to carry out their thesis work in astronomy to replace several upper-division course requirements with astrophysics courses. The average length of study is five to six years. A candidacy examination, including both a written and oral section, is ordinarily taken at the beginning of the second year. The Master of Science is not required for the Ph.D. degree and no foreign languages are required. A detailed description of degree requirements as well as summaries of individual faculty member research can be found in the current 2016-2017 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
Graduates of the doctoral program have been successful in diverse careers at universities, in government research laboratories, and in industry. Although most of the department's graduate students are enrolled in the Ph.D. degree program, the master's programs provide attractive alternatives for students who wish to pursue a shorter advanced education program. Graduates of the M.S. degree program generally find careers in industrial laboratories. The program, requiring course work and either thesis research or a critical essay, is normally completed in two years. The M.S.T. degree program is primarily a subject-matter-oriented program for teachers. Courses are chosen in consultation with an adviser to fit individual needs.
To obtain the necessary application forms for admission to the Graduate School-New Brunswick and Physics and Astronomy program, please:
- Go to the Rutgers Graduate School web page (http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu) to access the on-line application forms. On-line application is strongly recommended!
- If you can’t access the application materials on-line, you can request them from:
Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
18 Bishop Place
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, U.S.A.
- If the above methods fail, or if you have questions, you can contact us at:
Department of Physics and Astronomy
136 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8019 USA
Telephone: (848) 445-8765
Fax: (732) 445-4343
Email: email@example.com (don’t forget to include your return email address!)
Your application and application fee must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions. Supplementary materials (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.) should also be sent to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions. Please be sure to ask that supplementary material indicates that you are applying to the Physics and Astronomy program. Most materials, including letters of recommendation, can now be submitted on-line
All applicants must take the general test and the subject test in physics of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Applicants whose native language is not English are also required by the Graduate School to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of at least 550 (paper based), 213 (computer based), or, writing-22, speaking-23, reading-21, listening-17 (internet based) on the TOEFL is usually required for admission; a score of at least 600 (paper)/230 (computer) /95 (internet-based combined) is usually expected for candidates for a teaching assistantship appointment. Information is available on the web for the GRE and TOEFL exams, and for the ETS. Or, write to the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000, and request information on the GRE and TOEFL exams. (Some summary information about the GRE is provided here.) To ensure that the GRE scores are promptly reported to our Admissions Committee, we recommend that applicants for September admissions should take the GRE tests in the previous October, although scores from the previous December tests can also be considered. For January admissions, we recommend that applicants take the August GRE tests.
A cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better in undergraduate courses is normally required for admission. Admissions decisions are based on the undergraduate record, GRE examination scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Decisions are made before April 15 on all completed applications received by February. While late applications may be considered, admission and financial support depend on availability of positions. In order to receive full consideration for financial aid, applicants should submit all materials (application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) before January 1 for fall admission and before November 1 for spring admission.
Nearly all graduate students in the department receive full financial support through teaching assistantships or fellowships, and usually students are not admitted unless such financial support can be offered.
The department policy was to support all full-time graduate students in their first year, to guarantee three years of support, and to attempt to provide full financial for all students who maintain satisfactory academic progress in their subsequent years through teaching assistantships, research internships, or fellowships, if such support is needed - there are a few exceptions, such as students with external Fellowships or those employed outside the university. Starting with students coming in AY2017-18, the guaranteed support has been lengthened to 5 years in accordance with a new School of Arts and Sciences policy.
Most newly admitted graduate students are offered teaching assistantships. The teaching assistantships are for ten months; the rate of pay is at least $25,969 plus full tuition remission. Teaching and graduate assistants and their dependents are eligible for complete health plan benefits. In return, the student spends a total of twelve to fifteen hours each week on teaching duties, including class preparation and classroom instruction. For the two summer months, support is generally available in the form of research positions or summer teaching appointments.
Superior students are offered graduate fellowships. These provide full tuition remission, a stipend of at least $29,000 for the academic year, and health benefits, with no teaching obligations. It is generally possible for fellows to supplement their stipends through teaching assignments. They are also eligible for support during the summer.
Many advanced students are supported by graduate research assistantships funded by the research grants of various faculty members. They receive tuition remission, a stipend of at least $25,969 for ten months, and full health insurance benefits.
On-campus housing is available at favorable rates for both married and single students, but most students choose to live off campus in the communities near the department. Information on housing is sent to applicants upon acceptance by the Graduate School-New Brunswick.
- The Richard J. Plano Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (inaugurated in 2000).
- The previous Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (1989-1999).
- The Graduate School of New Brunswick
- recent Fellowship winners from Physics and Astronomy can be found here.
- The Peter Lindenfeld Fellowship (inaugurated in AY 2015-2016).
- The Professor Claude Lovelace Endowed Fellowship in Experimental Physics (inaugurated in AY 2013-2014).
- The Samuel Marateck Fellowship in Quantum Field Theory Physics (inaugurated in AY 2015-2016).
Prizes and Scholarships:
- The Dean's Award for Excellence in Research.
- The Noemie Koller Endowed Scholarship (inaugurated in AY 2014-2015).
- The David C. Langreth Graduate Development Award (inaugurated in 2012).
- The Richard J. Plano Dissertation Prize.
- The Robert A. Schommer Prize (inaugurated in 2015).
- T. Daniel Brennan Travel Scholarship.
- Official Rutgers catalog site listings for Physics and Astronomy graduate program:
- The "Redbook", the Handbook for physics and astronomy
- Current (2016-17) Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- Old versions of the redbook:
- 2010-2011 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- 2009-2010 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- 2008-2009 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- 2006-2007 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- 2005-2006 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- 2000-2004 Handbook for physics graduate students ("Redbook")
- Many neded forms can be found under the Graduate School website here
- Select forms and policies can also be found here
- Catalog descriptions of the graduate courses
- Home pages of graduate courses
- Learning goals and assessment for the PhD and Masters degrees
- Student led activities
- Graduate Student Organization (GSO)
- Developing Educational Leaders among TAs in Physics (DELTA-P)
- Seminar In Graduate Mentoring in Astronomy and Physics (SIGMA-P)
- Qualifier and Placement Exams:
firstname.lastname@example.org. All correspondence about the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy should be addressed to email@example.com.
Revised April 19, 2017
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