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Physics Ph.D. Program


Physics has been taught at the University of Michigan since the autumn of 1843, under the name of "Natural Philosophy." At the time, the program consisted of eleven college juniors and two faculty members. The Physics Department, understandably, looks a lot different today. Housed in Randall Laboratory on UM Central Campus, the department's faculty of over fifty professors and lecturers instruct thousands of students a term under a diverse catalog of courses. Our graduate program, typically consisting of about 150 students, is central to the service, education, and community the program provides. Physics PhD students undergo five years of academic and professional training to earn their degree, all while participating on the frontline of new and exciting research. 


About Our Students

Rackham Graduate School Doctoral Program Statistics

View this workbook to find more about the Physics graduate program student demographics, admissions, enrollment, funding, milestones, completion rates, and career outcomes.

APS “How does your institution compare?” tool

Use this tool to see how the UM Physics Department compares nationally for both bachelors and doctoral degrees. This tool combines demographics from both the Physics and Applied Physics graduate programs.

We fully recognize that our current gender and racial demographics are influenced by and reflect historical inequities both inside and outside our physics community. While our demographics are comparable to or slightly more equalized than that of the general physics community, we are still far from our goal. To this end, we are constantly working towards making our physics community more accessible, equitable, and inclusive. See our Physics DEI webpage for more information about some of these initiatives. 

The above data set categories are influenced by U.S. Census categories. As a result, many marginalized groups are unaccounted for in these data sets. This lack of recognition does not reflect the views of the department as we strive to fully recognize and support all members of our community. Additionally, the definition of underrepresented minorities (URM) is not specified in the Rackham data set, but includes historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in higher education.†

† “Underrepresented minorities” (URM) category: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians/Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (excluding Asian Americans), and multi-racial (i.e. “two or more races”) students identifying at least one of previously listed URM categories.