The admission process begins with the applicant assembling the material necessary for the Admissions Committee to evaluate his/her qualifications. The required materials are listed below. In particular, we call your attention to the GRE/TOEFL/IELTS test requirements and the deadline for application (January 15th).
There is no separate application needed for a teaching assistantship or Fellowship other than checking the appropriate box on the main application form. The necessary forms (transcript request, recommendation, and Physics & Math course listing forms) can be requested in writing, by telephone, or by email sent to the address of the Physics Graduate Secretary. These forms are also available for printing as indicated below.
All applicants for graduate admissions are required to submit:
Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must also submit:
The deadline for all application materials for admission in the fall is Jan. 15 of the year of admission.
This includes all supporting materials such as the scores of GRE, TOEFL and IELTS. Applicants are advised to register for and take these examinations well in advance of the application deadline, since these examinations are typically only administered a few times a year, registration is usually required a few weeks in advance of the test dates, and there is also a similar delay in the reporting of the scores to us after the tests are taken.
Almost all of the students entering in the fall have been awarded Graduate Teaching Assistantships or Fellowships. The most common form of financial assistance offered by the Department is the half-time (20 hours per week) graduate teaching assistantship.
Students on half-time appointments are often limited to four courses (12 semester-hours), but they rarely take that many. Three courses is the usual and expected load for students not engaged in thesis research. Students may occasionally take fewer courses for a good reason; but if they prolong their studies unduly, they may have to do so without support from the Department. In particular, graduate students who enter at the beginning master's level should not expect support from the Department if they do not qualify for the doctoral program by the end of their fourth semester. The Graduate School considers a load of 8 semester-hours to be the minumum level required for a full time student.
Though there are usually a limited number of teaching assistantships available during the summer session, most academic year nonresearch assistantships cease during the summer. Assistantships are normally renewed in the fall if the assistant has performed satisfactorily as an employee and has made satisfactory and timely progress as a student. For a nonnative speaker of English, the Oral English Proficiency Certification offered at Purdue is a requirement to sustain the level of support as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Students employed as graduate assistants during a spring semester and continuing, as graduate assistants in the following fall semester are eligible for the tuition and fee reduction during the intervening summer session.
Graduate assistants usually teach, grade, consult, or conduct research. The term of service begins one week before the beginning of classes.
The Graduate School provides several fellowships to entering physics graduate students each year. For fall admissions in physics, these included at least one Andrews Fellowship and two Ross Fellowships. In addition, Purdue Fellowships for Black, Mexican-American, Native-American, and Puerto Rican United States citizens and a Special Initiative Fellowship for women have been made available for each of the last several years. In certain cases, entering students may be eligible for some of the interdisciplinary fellowships and traineeships as well. Andrews and Purdue Fellowships are two-year appointments while Ross and the Special Initiative Fellowships are for one year. Recipients of all doctoral fellowships must be committed to work toward the Ph.D. All University fellowships provide waivers of almost all of the tuition and fees as well as insurance supplements. After the doctoral fellowships expire, the Department normally supports the students through teaching or research appointments.
For admission to the graduate programs, a Bachelor's degree in physics is required with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0.
A good preparation in physics for entering students includes a sound knowledge of general physics, intermediate level mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, statistical and thermal physics, introductory atomic and nuclear physics including some principles of quantum mechanics. A corresponding mathematical background would include vector analysis, advanced calculus, ordinary differential equations, boundary value problems, and some knowledge of introductory complex analysis. Graduate credit courses are offered at two levels in quantum mechanics and a classical physics review course that surveys problem solving in intermediate mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and some thermal physics is offered. In addition, two courses in mathematical methods of physics are offered. First-year students can be placed in courses that will supplement their undergraduate programs and correct deficiencies. Strong undergraduate preparation would be provided by adequate study of textbooks at the level of: Fowles, Analytical Mechanics or Thornton and Marion, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, in classical mechanics; Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics or Reitz, Milford and Christy, Foundations of Electromagnetic Theory, or Marion, Classical Electromagnetic Radiation, in electricity and magnetism; Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics or French and Taylor, An Introduction to Quantum Physics, or Eisberg and Resnick, Quantum Physics of atoms, molecules, solids, nuclei, and particles, in quantum mechanics; Kittel and Kroemer, Thermal Physics or Reif, Statistical and Thermal Physics, in thermal and statistical physics; and finally for general modern physics, Weidner and Sells, Krane, Sandin, Serway, or Tipler.