Graduate Applicants


How do I apply for admission?

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.

What is the application deadline? 

The application submission deadline is 11:59 pm EST on December 15.

What is the procedure to transfer to UMD from another graduate program? 

All applicants must submit the same application form. Please tell us about your reasons for transferring in your personal statement. It is also important that you have letters of recommendation from your present school as well as from your undergraduate school. All applications are considered in the same applicant pool.

Are there any required courses for admission to the program? 

There are no specific course requirements for admission. However, applicants should demonstrate a solid background in undergraduate physics including mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum physics, statistical physics, and dynamics.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in Physics in order to apply? 

We do sometimes offer admission to students who have studied other topics as undergraduates, but only if they have also taken most of the physics courses a physics major typically takes, and have an exceptionally strong application in other ways (e.g., promise for succeeding in research). Our graduate program is really designed for students with a solid background in undergraduate physics.

Can I apply for a Master's degree? 

Our department does not offer an individual M.S. program.

Do I need to mail my official transcript? 

No, we do not require an official transcript at the time of your application. Should you be offered admission and decide to enroll, the Graduate School will require official transcripts at that time.

Do recommendation letters need to be submitted by the December 15 deadline? 

We request that all letters of recommendation are submitted before the December 15 deadline. However, as long as they arrive before January 1, the admissions committee will be able to review your application.

There is not enough space to fill out all of my Physics and Math courses on the Supplementary Application form. What should I do? 

You can fill out another Supplementary Application with the additional courses and upload it as "Supplementary Document 2" in your ApplyYourself portal.

Can you tell me if I should apply to your graduate program given my qualifications? 

Our admissions committee uses many factors to determine your eligibility for admission and we are unable to address your admission chances without a complete, official application.

Do you accept applications for the spring term? 

No, we only admit students for the Fall semester.

Am I eligible to receive an application fee waiver?

For detailed information on fee waiver eligibility go here

Admissions Decisions

How many students apply to your program, and how many do you offer admission to? 

The University of Maryland Physics Graduate Program receives over 700 applications per year and typically makes 150 offers of admission.

Scores and Letters of Recommendation

Do I need to take the GRE? 

We use the Physics GRE subject test as one indicator of preparation in basic physics, to help assess whether you would succeed in our graduate curriculum. If you have not taken the test, we will still read and evaluate your application. Also, if you have special circumstances that prevented you from taking the test, you should you let us know in your Statement of Purpose.

What are the minimum score requirements for the GRE General and GRE Physics tests? 

We do not have minimum score requirements for the GRE General or GRE Physics tests. A low GRE score should not discourage you from applying. We do get many highly qualified applicants each year, so our admissions process is fairly competitive. Course grades, personal statements, and letters of recommendation are just as important, if not more so, than the GRE scores.

What are the average GRE scores and GPA of admitted students?

Applicants admitted to enter in Fall 2017 had an average Physics GRE score of 895 and an average GPA of 3.81.

I am an international student and my TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores fall below the Graduate School requirements. Am I still eligible for admission? 

The score requirements can be found here. If you fall below the minimum requirements, unfortunately you are not eligible for admission. This is a policy from the Graduate School.

What are your code numbers for test scores? 

The University of Maryland's Graduate School receives and processes all score reports. Please use the following institutional codes:

GRE (General and Subject) – 5814
TOEFL – 5814

What test dates are acceptable? 

We will accept GRE scores from tests taken within the last 5 years and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores from tests taken within the last 2 years.

Am I exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement? 

You will not be required to submit TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores if you have or will be awarded a degree from the United States, United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa, Anglophone Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Commonwealth Caribbean prior to enrolling in the University of Maryland. See a complete list of countries here.

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 do I know when my test scores arrive? 

Test scores are received and processed by the Graduate School, who will attach them to your application shortly after receiving them. You can check the status on your ApplyYourself dashboard. If you think your scores should have already been received, please contact the Graduate School at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

May more than 3 letters of recommendation be submitted? 

Yes, but please do not ask for more than four recommendation letters to be sent. The admissions committee will not read more than four letters regarding a given applicant.

What if my test scores or letters of recommendation come late? 

We ask that score reports and letters of recommendation are submitted before the December 15 deadline. However, as long as they arrive before January 1, the admissions committee will be able to include the scores in their review of your application.

Why does my application show that my test scores and recommendation letters have been received, but it is still marked incomplete? 

We manually mark your application "complete" after we receive all parts of your application, including recommendations and test scores. Since we have so many applicants, it can sometimes take a day or two to finish marking all of the applications complete. Our Admissions Committee reviews all applications, even if they are not marked complete.

Visiting UMD

Can I visit the Department of Physics? 

You are welcome to visit! Applicants should schedule a meeting with the Associate Chair for Graduate Education or the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss our program. Feel free to drop by the Office of Student and Education Services.

Can I meet with faculty to discuss my research interests before applying? 

You are welcome to directly contact any of our faculty with whom you would like to discuss research. All Physics faculty members are listed on our departmental website, along with their research areas.

I would like information about a specific concentration/research area. How do I get more information? 

The research areas in the Department of Physics can be found on the department's website. Here, you can find the contact information for faculty members who are doing research in your field of interest.