Graduate Study

Our department conducts research in several areas, including astrophysics, atomic and optical physics, biophysics, complex systems, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and particle physics.  Students entering our graduate program can often begin their research before the Fall quarter of their first year, by joining a research group at or shortly after the time they are admitted.  With rare exceptions, all first-year students are supported by 12-month Fellowships which give them great flexibility in choosing their research specialilty.  Our department is particularly strong in multi-disciplinary research, with joint faculty in Materials Science, Chemistry, and Electrical Engineering, and strong ties to both Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  It is not unusual for students to conduct the bulk of their research with physicists outside the department, and in some cases outside the nation.  Students in certain areas (particularly astrophysics and particle and nuclear physics) may have the opportunity to spend significant amounts of time at off-campus facilities such as the CERN accelerator laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, or the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.

All students must pass a set of three qualifier exams to demonstrate a good knowledge of basic graduate-level physics as covered in the first year of courses.  One or two years later, students stand for a candidacy exam, in which he or she demonstrates understanding of a likely Ph.D. topic and is able to defend a plan for research toward the Ph.D.

Most of our students earn the Ph.D. although occasionally students choose to leave with a Master's degree.  In the past year, 215 students applied to our graduate program out of which 19 will be joining us in Fall 2011.

Contact Information for the Chair of Graduate Admissions

Chair of Graduate Admissions

Professor Mayda Velasco

Phone number: 847-467-7099

Office: Technological Institute F119

Email: mvelasco@lotus.phys.northwestern.edu

Contact Information for the Director of Graduate Studies

Director of Graduate Studies

Professor Michael Schmitt

Phone number: 847-467-6593

Office: Technological Institute F113

Email: schmittm@lotus.phys.northwestern.edu

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September 20, 2013