Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate degrees offered


  • M.S.; Ph.D.


Areas of Study
  • Atomic, Molecular, Optical, and Plasma Physics
  • Condensed Matter
  • High Energy Physics
  • Materials Physics
  • Nanotechnology
Promo image for Physics and Astronomy

Contacts for Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Chair

Dr. Kees Uiterwaal


Graduate Admissions Chair

Dr. Kirill Belashchenko

Campus Address

208 Jorgensen Hall

855 N. 16th St.

Lincoln NE 68588-0299

Application checklist and deadlines

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

See also: steps to admission.

Required by Physics and Astronomy in GAMES

After you apply, allow one business day for us to establish your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these departmental requirements:

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE (Physics subject test recommended)
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 80, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Personal statement of educational goals and research interests
  • Resume (recommended)

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Physics and Astronomy
For Financial ConsiderationFall: January 31
OtherwiseRolling admissions. Students are admitted for fall semesters only; contact the department for more information.


The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to master's and doctoral degrees. With approximately 80 graduate students and 27 faculty members, the department maintains a friendly and informal atmosphere that is conducive to close interaction between faculty and students.

Our faculty bring in over $16 million per year in scientific research grants, which provides students with research assistantships, support for travel to national and international meetings, and access to state-of-the-art research equipment, including computational facilities and fully staffed electronic and instrument shops. One example of the cutting-edge research facilities available is the Extreme Light Laboratory, which houses a multi-million-dollar laser system capable of focusing light to the highest level of intensity ever achieved. Not only is this capability expected to lead to new discoveries in fundamental physics, but it has important multidisciplinary applications in materials science, chemistry, biology, as well as medicine, security and defense.

Our program prepares students for employment in all sectors. Students interested in academic or government employment have been hired as postdoctoral research associates at Princeton, Caltech, Berkeley and the Office of Naval Research. Our graduates also work in industry at places like Seagate, Applied Magnetics, Micron and Eaton SEO and in academia, including McMurry University, Loras College, Fort Hayes State University and St. Thomas University.

Courses and More

Students in Physics and Astronomy are most likely to take courses in: See also: Course Catalog in the Graduate Bulletin.

Students will work with an advisor to create a Program of Studies or Memorandum of Courses during the first half of their coursework.

Faculty and research

Shireen Adenwalla
Experimental Condensed-Matter Physics; Magnetization Dynamics in Coupled Systems; Magneto-Electric Interactions in Heterostructures; Neutron Detectors
Herman Batelaan
Experimental Atomic Physics; Laser Cooling and Trapping; Matter Optics and Interferometry; Ultrafast Electron/Photon Physics
Kirill Belashchenko
Electronic Theory of Magnetism and Magnetotransport; Spin-Dependent Transport; Alloy Theory
Christian Binek
Experimental Condensed-Matter Physics; Magnetic Heterostructures and Model Systems; Voltage-Controlled Magnetism; Spintronics
Ken Bloom
Experimental High-energy Physics Focusing on Top-Quark Physics; Higgs Boson Characterization; Particle Physics Research
John Burton
Martin Centurion
Experimental Ultrafast Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics
Dan Claes
Experimental High-Energy Physics; Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider; Comic Ray Observatory Project (CROP) in Nebraska
Aaron Dominguez
Experimental High Energy Particle Physics
Peter Dowben
Electronic Structure of Solids and Surfaces; Nonmetal to Metal Transitions; Surface Magnetism; Surface Ferroelectricity; Organic Molecular Interfaces
Stephen Ducharme
Experimental Condensed-matter and Optical Physics; Physics and Applications of Molecular and Polymer Ferroelectric Materials; Nanoscale Ferroelectricity
Axel Enders
Self-Assembled Magnetic Nanostructures
Ilya Fabrikant
Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics; Atomic Processes Involving Negative Ions; Electron-molecule and Electron-cluster Collisions; Strong-field Ionization of Atoms and Molecules
Matthias Fuchs
Experimental Ultrafast and High-field X-ray Science; Laser-Wakefiled Acceleration; Ultrafast X-ray Interactions; High-field Interactions; Nonlinear X-ray Optics
Timothy Gay
Experimental Atomic, Molecular, and Nuclear Physics; Polarized Electrons
Alexei Gruverman
Nanoscale Physical Phenomena in Multiferroic and Polar Materials; Static and Dynamic Properties of Ferroic Domains; SPM Studies of Electromechanical and Mechanical Properties of Biocompatible Materials and Biological Systems
Robert Hardy
Structural and Vibrational Properties of Crystalline and Amorphous Solids
Xia Hong
Materials Science; Epitaxial Growth and Nanofabrication of Complex Oxide Heterostructures; Transport Studies of Nanoscale and Low-dimensional Electron Systems
Sitaram Jaswal
Magnetic Materials; Magneto-Resistance Materials
Serge Kalmykov
Roger Kirby
Nanoscale and Nanostructured Materials
Alexey Kovalev
Theoretical Condensed-Matter Physics; Spintronics; Spin-Dependent Transport; Quantum Information Processing
Ilya Kravchenko
Experimental High Energy Physics
Sy-Hwang Liou
Quantum Conductance; Microcantilever Torque Magnetometer
David Sellmyer
Quantum and Spin Phenomena
Bradley Shadwick
Intense Laser-Plasma Interactions; Advanced Accelerator Concepts; Plasma Theory; Hamiltonian Systems and Methods; Advanced Numerical Methods; Cluster Computing
Norman Simon
Analysis of Electric and Magnetic Signals from the Brain; EEG and MEG Study of Sleep
Ralph Skomski
Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics; Magnetic Nanostructures; Micromagnetics; Intrinsic Properties of Permanent Magnets
Gregory Snow
Experimental High-Energy Physics; D0 Experiment at Fermilab; Cosmic Rays; Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider
Anthony Starace
Laser-Atom Interactions; Harmonic Generation
Evgeny Tsymbal
Theory of Electronic, Magnetic, Ferroelectric and Transport Properties of Materials and Structures
Kees Uiterwaal
Photoexcitation and Photoionization in Ultrashort & Intense Laser Pulses; Molecular Photochem.; Spatially-resolved Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometry; Nonlinear Optical Effects; Holographic Spatial Pulse Shaping; Optical Vortices
Donald Umstadter
Extreme Nonlinear Optics of High-intensity Laser Interactions; Relativistic Plasmas; Compact Laser-driven Particle Accelerators and Ultra-Short-Duration X-Ray Sources; High-Energy Density Physics and Extreme States of Matter
John Woollam
Thin Films; Interfacial and Environmental Effects on Materials
Xiaoshan Xu
Experimental Condensed-Matter Physics

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