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Applying to the Program

At UM Physics, we pride ourselves on providing unparalleled academic training to our students, and our graduates are highly regarded both nationally and internationally as researchers, teachers, and professionals in private industry.

In addition to the collaborative and interdisciplinary research opportunities we offer students, we are proud of our high program completion rate, our commitment to fully fund our students for up to five years, and the supportive and collegial environment fostered by our faculty, students, and staff.

For additional information regarding our program or how to apply, please contact us at


The Rackham Graduate School and the Department of Physics will begin accepting applications for Fall 2023 admission September 8, 2022. Applications will be due by 11:59 p.m. E.S.T. on December 15, 2022.


Our admissions committee conducts a holistic review of the application materials for indicators that the applicant possesses qualities that contribute to successful completion of the degree program and no single factor leads to either accepting an applicant or excluding an applicant from admission.  The admissions review considers the applicant’s academic performance to date, potential for contribution to research, and persistence in and commitment to educational success.



Undergraduate Degree

Prior to matriculation into the Physics PhD Program, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or an international degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. International applicants should refer to Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions to ensure that their educational credentials meet our graduate school's requirements. 

No minimum undergraduate GPA is required, nor do we impose any specific course requirements. However, the necessary grounding for the program is the equivalent of a full undergraduate physics major. This typically involves solid intermediate-level courses in classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal and statistical physics, and quantum physics as well as some study of applications in the context of modern physics. Research experience is not a requirement, but is an asset.

Applicants who have already completed a doctoral degree in Physics or a related discipline are usually not eligible to apply for admission to our program.


The application for admission is completed online through the Rackham Graduate School website. The site allows you to save your work and complete the application over time. Applications must be submitted before the application deadline of 11:59 PM EST on December 15 to be considered. The online application system will be disabled at the deadline.

The application fee must be paid through the online application. The fee is $75 for United States citizens or permanent residents and $90 for Non-U.S. citizens. The Rackham Graduate School provides fee waivers to students who meet certain criteria. You can find more information here.

Statement of Purpose

Plan to answer these questions: What are your goals for graduate school and your future career? What are your research interests, and how have your educational, research and/or professional experiences prepared you for pursuing a PhD in Physics?

Personal Statement

In the personal statement, please address how your background and life experiences (including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges) have motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. The personal statement should be a discussion of the journey that  led to your decision to seek a graduate degree. Please limit your personal statement to 2 pages or 500 words.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation should be submitted through the online application. The admissions commitee will not review more than three letters.

The online application will prompt you to provide contact information for each of your recommenders and then will send a standardized email message to each person with a link to an online portal where they can upload their letter. These letters can be submitted at any stage of the application process; it is not necessary or recommended to wait until your application is complete to enter your letter writers' information. 

If your recommenders are unable to submit their letters through the online application, please contact the Physics Graduate Program for assistance at Unless you have received prior permission from the program, letters of recommendation that are mailed or emailed directly to the program will not be considered.

English Proficiency Scores

Applicants who have completed all of their undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only are exempt from submiting English proficiency score reports. All current University of Michigan students are also exempt.

Students from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English (e.g. TOEFL exam). Please see Rackham’s English Proficiency Requirements for more information.