Scores and Letters of Recommendation
Applications to the Physics Graduate Program are submitted through the University of Maryland's Graduate School.
Please visit the University of Maryland Graduate School's Application Process page, where you will find a step-by-step guide to applying, answers to frequently asked questions, and the link to the application. The Physics Admissions Requirements are listed here.
The application submission deadline is 11:59 pm EST on December 11.
Yes! We no longer require the general GREs as they are of little or no use to the admissions committee.
While we still are listing the Physics GRE as "required", we understand that circumstances may well prevent excellent applicants from taking the exam--and that this is likely to occur frequently this year. In cases where the student cannot take the exam, we will fully consider the application and make our admissions decisions based on the information we have.
We only ask that you explain in your Statement of Purpose why you were unable to take the exam.
In any event, for most applicants the Physics GRE plays a modest role in our decision making, so our admissions process will be able to function if they are missing.
Nationally, there has been a movement to deemphasize the Physics GRE in admissions and some Departments have made them optional, even before the pandemic. There have been discussions in Maryland Physics about whether we should also make the Physics GRE optional, with some in the Department strongly advocating this position. Given this situation and the fact that other Departments have made the Physics GRE optional in light of the pandemic, it is fair to ask why Maryland is keeping them "required", albeit with the understanding that if a student is unable to take the exam their application will still be given full consideration. The answer is simply that this year may be a particularly awkward time to forgo whatever limited information is contained in the Physics GRE. We will already have much less information than usual in making admissions decisions: transcripts provide less information than usual since classes in the spring were held in difficult circumstances and in many instances were graded on a pass/fail basis and research opportunities for students in the spring and summer have been greatly limited, which among other things, tends to limit the information in letter of reference compared to the past.
That said, it is likely that many of you--perhaps the great majority of you depending on how things play out in the fall--will unable to take the test. We understand this and will accommodate and fully consider the applications.
We use the Physics GRE subject test as one of several indicators of preparation in basic physics, to help assess the likelihood of success in our program. Although we list the Physics GRE as “required” rather than “optional”, if you have not taken the test, we will still read and evaluate your application; you will still be considered for admission, provided the remainder of the application is sufficiently strong. However, it is in your interest to submit a Physics GRE score. This is true, even if you believe that the score you received does not accurately reflect your level of knowledge and ability. We are well aware of the limitations of the exam and really do look at the overall record. A low score will not eliminate you from consideration if the rest of the application is sufficiently strong.
If there are special circumstances that prevented you from taking the test, you should let us know in your Statement of Purpose.
We do not have minimum score requirements for the GRE General or GRE Physics tests and a low GRE score should not discourage you from applying.
We get many highly qualified applicants each year, so our admissions process is quite competitive. However, the GRE is just one component of the application, along with the courses you have taken and the grades received, your letters of recommendation, your research accomplishments and your statement of purpose all inform our admissions. Each of these components gives a somewhat limited picture of applicants and in some cases the GRE can help round out the picture. That said, the information provided by the exam is limited and we are aware that it can be misleading. Thus we look at the overall record. A low GRE score will not eliminate you from consideration of admission if the application is sufficiently strong overall.
GRE (General and Subject) – 5814
TOEFL – 5814
You will be required to submit TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores if you are a US citizen or permanent resident with international credentials whose native language is not English and who does not hold a degree from an institution in the US or one of the areas listed above.
How many credits do I need to take?
Typically, graduate students with an appointment in their department (TA or RA) must take 24 units. Each graduate-level course credit counts as 6 units, and each research credit counts as 18. For example, students who are only taking classes typically need to have at least 4 credits, and students who are only doing research need to have 2 credits of PHYS898. You can read more about it here.
How do I register for class?
Why can’t I register for PHYS899?
Doctoral candidates are automatically registered by the Registrar’s Office for this course about 2-4 weeks before the beginning of the semester.