Graduate Program Admissions

Thank you for your interest in the Boston University Physics Department.  We welcome you to apply to our PhD Program. You will find that our students enjoy a community of diverse and amicable physicists from all over the world. We pride ourselves on the close contact between the students and the faculty, as well as between the experimental and theoretical research groups. Our students can take advantage of the close collaborations we have with the faculty and research labs of the College of Engineering, the School of Medicine, the Center for Polymer Studies, Neuroscience, Photonics and the Center for Nanoscience and Nano Biotechnology. 

Application Checklist

  1. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Online Application
  2. A $95 application fee.
  3. Unofficial transcripts from every college or university attended.  Official transcripts will be required by the Graduate School if you are admitted, and upon your accepting our offer of admission.
  4. Three Letters of Reference
  5. GRE test scores are not required and will not be reviewed for the 2020-2021 Admissions cycle.
  6. Personal Statement. Please write a brief essay describing your qualifications and objectives. Include any research activities, publications, and independent studies you have completed.
  7. Resume or CV.

International students must also include certified English translations of all transcripts from each college or university attended and official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS.  The minimum scores of the internet-based test (IBT) are: Reading section – 21; Listening section – 21; Speaking section – 21; Writing section – 21 

Please See:  Guidelines for submitting International Transcripts.  

Please visit the Graduate School Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about testing requirements.

For more detailed information about the Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the general admissions process, please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin.


Application deadline: January 5th, 2021. Due to an error, the deadline was previously incorrectly listed here as January 4. The application portal will remain open until 23:59 EST on January 5th, (despite the date posted on the portal). All student submitted documents should be posted by then and will be considered. Reminder: please include an unofficial copy of your fall semester transcript.

Admission Requirements

A Bachelors Degree in Physics, or a Bachelors Degree in another field with comparable preparation in junior and senior level physics courses including quantum mechanics, intermediate mechanics, electricity and magnetism and statistical/thermal physis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can't afford the application fee? Boston University requires that the application fee be paid before your application is forwarded to the departmental admissions committee for review. There are several special programs for fee waivers that are listed on the Graduate School page. In particular, we would like to highlight a new program by the Boston University graduate school to waive application fees for women applicants in STEM departments, including physics. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required for this program.

What is the basis for admission? Every year, we have several hundred applicants, and can only offer admission to a much smaller number, targeting a typical incoming class size ranging from 10 to 20 students. Our admission process is holistic, in that we consider many factors, and there is no strict cutoff based on GRE scores (which are not factored at all for 2021) or GPA. We are striving to build a highly qualified and diverse class where every student has an excellent chance of thriving and working with a research advisor in their field of interest. Each year our admission goals are adjusted based on the opportunities in theoretical, experimental, and computational sub-fields, and the basis for admission varies within each discipline.

Can I arrange a visit to Boston University? Please contact the Physics Department main office at (617)353-2623, or send an e-mail message to our Graduate Program Coordinator. Please call at least one week in advance so we can arrange to have several faculty and students available to talk to you. If you would like to sit in on a graduate-level class, please refer to our course schedule and let us know which course you would like to see. You can also refer to our research group listing and contact individual faculty members working in your area of interest. We particularly encourage students to visit on Tuesdays, when we hold our departmental colloquium. Directions to the Physics Department are available here.

Is financial aid available?  All newly admitted PhD students receive a 5-year offer of support, which may be a combination of fellowship, teaching assistantship or research assistantship. First-year students typically receive teaching assistant positions. Students are encouraged to join a research group by applying for a research assistantship. Both research and teaching assistants receive a scholarship for tuition, fees and basic medical insurance, as well as a stipend. The stipend amount for this academic year is $23,340. In addition, students usually work as teaching or research assistants during the summer and receive an additional stipend of $11,670 for a total stipend of $35,010 for the academic year. See this page for more information.

Please refer to the Graduate School's Admissions page for more info. For administrative questions, please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator.

You may visit our page on Grad School Shopper for  information.