The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania will be accepting applications for the PhD program during the 2020-21 admissions cycle, despite any disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to receiving applications this Fall.

"Special Statement Regarding Graduate Admissions in 2020"

Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, in our graduate admissions process this year:

1) Students who have taken courses in Spring 2020 Pass/Fail rather than for a letter grade will not be penalized in any way. 

2) GRE scores will *not* be required this year, and their absence will not be used to count against any applicant.



All application waiver requests should be directed to the Graduate Division of Art and Sciences (



Information for applicants to the graduate program:

The graduate program in physics and astronomy is directed primarily towards the PhD degree, emphasizing completion of an original and significant research investigation. The department will, however, award a M.S. degree signifying a knowledge of physics well beyond the undergraduate level but without the comprehensive background and intensive research effort of the Ph.D.

The departmental research program presently emphasizes experimental and theoretical works in particle physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, and astronomy.

We no longer accept paper applications. Further information about the online application process may be obtained by clicking on the link below: 

(Codes: School 2926, Department 0808)

Special Admissions Requirements

A Bachelor's degree in physics, astronomy, or a related science is required. If the Bachelor's degree is not in physics or astronomy, a strong physics minor is necessary. Prior research experience is strongly encouraged. The GRE general test and the GRE subject test in physics are both required. For applicants whose native language is not English, the TOEFL exam is required to demonstrate proficiency in English.

For Further Information

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pennsylvania
209 S 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6396
telephone:(215) 898-3125
department (215) 898-8141
email: admiss - at-

Admission Statistics

  • Address admission inquiries to: Admissions Coordinator, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Graduate application fee required: $90
  • Admission deadline (Fall admission): December 15
  • Admission information: We typically make offers of admission to about 12 percent of those who apply.
  • Admission requirements: Bachelor's degree in physics, astronomy or a related science. If the Bachelor's degree is in another field, a strong physics minor is required. No minimum undergraduate GPA is specified. No minimum score on the GRE verbal and quantitative is specified.
  • Undergraduate preparation assumed: A typical student will have completed intermediate and advanced courses in mechanics (Marion, Becker, etc.); electricity and magnetism (Reitz and Milford, Corson and Lorrain); quantum mechanics (Saxon, etc.); and undergraduate laboratory.

Transfer Credit

Students may receive credit for graduate courses taken at other institutions, though no more than 8 credits may be transferred.  After the Graduate Chair determines whether an equivalent graduate course has been taken, the student must go to the current instructor for that course for a standardized evaluation of the instructor's design.  If the instructor determines that the student knows the course material, then that course will be waived and, if appropriate, credit will be given.


Cal-Bridge logo

The Cal-Bridge program has the mission of creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups to participate and advance in physics, astronomy, computer science, and computer engineering and to increase their numbers in PhD programs in those fields. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania is a dedicated partner of the Cal-Bridge program. Learn more about the Cal-Bridge program here.