Graduate Program
Graduate Program

Take a Virtual Tour!

Want to experience what it is like to research in one of our labs? Now you can visit five labs with the Physics & Astronomy 360 Virtual Tour.

Make sure to utilize the full 360 degree space by moving your phone or dragging your desktop cursor up-and-down and side-to-side. Stand up, walk around, and experience each space.

Work with internationally recognized leaders in three subdisciplines of physics.

See yourself at Nebraska

Our department offers doctoral degrees with specializations in three major subdisciplines of physics. Physics & Astronomy is located in Jorgensen Hall, on the City Campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. We collaborate with numerous centers located on campus including the P-SPINS Materials Research Science and Engineering Center as well as the Center for NanoFerroic Devices.

Admission to the graduate program occurs primarily in the fall, but some applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The Department does not offer a separate program for the M.S. degree, though an M.S. degree may be obtained while continuing toward your Ph.D.

Take advantage of assistantships and travel opportunities

Our faculty bring in well over $16 million per year in research funding, which provides graduate 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.

Graduate Program Overview

  • Faculty: 27
  • Graduate Students: 80
  • Annual Research Funding: $16.5 million
  • Ph.D. Theses since 2005: 65
  • Jorgensen Hall, our 125,000 ft2 home, was built in 2010.
  • High-Profile Publications since 2005: Science (8), Nature (2), Nature-group journals (18), Physical Review Letters (241)
  • Fellows of the American Physical Society: 10

Graduate Program Applicant Contact

Graduate Secretary
208 Jorgensen Hall

Areas of Graduate Study

Atomic, Molecular, Optical, & Plasma Physics

The AMOP group investigates ultrafast atomic, molecular, and plasma processes at state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities. Current research areas include matter optics, diffractive imaging, electron spin polarization, relativistic laser-matter interactions, nonlinear X-ray optics, attosecond physics, high energy density physics, plasma physics, and strong-field physics. Laser-matter interactions at the highest attainable field strengths are probed using the Diocles laser at the Extreme Light Laboratory.

Condensed Matter & Material Physics

The CMMP group studies the fundamental properties of novel materials and nanostructures and develops device concepts for information processing and storage, energy harvesting, and sensor applications. The P-SPINS Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Center for NanoFerroic Devices conduct world-class research in magnetic, ferroelectric, and multiferroic materials and structures, offering an exciting collaborative environment for graduate students.

Experimental High Energy Physics

The HEP group studies the most fundamental constituents of matter. It plays a leading role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment operating at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva. UNL faculty and graduate students participated in the discovery of the Higgs boson and are developing instrumentation and computing facilities for the experiment. Most graduate students are stationed at CERN to perform their research.

Thoughts from Current Graduate Students

Nathan Clayburn

"When you enroll in a graduate program, you become part of the greater University’s community. Not only does UNL have a strong physics academic tradition, the greater University fosters a positive learning environment that focuses on student success."

Nathan Clayburn

Elena Echeverria Mora

"I come from a chaotic city; therefore, living in Lincoln is like living in a dream place—calm, safe, and with friendly people. And, when I feel I need to return to the chaos, I can visit several big cities close to Lincoln."

Elena Echeverria Mora

Keith Foreman

"As a graduate student in the UNL physics department, there are ample opportunities to travel. Presenting research at international conferences and conducting research at national laboratories has exposed me to wonderful science that I might otherwise have remained unaware, and has allowed me to engage other physicists about my own research."

Keith Foreman

Apply Now

Let curiosity move you to start your story at the Department of Physics & Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences. With specialized programs of study in three subdisciplines of physics, the opportunity for hands-on experience through our nationally-acclaimed master's and Ph.D. programs, and a campus located at the heart of an innovative college city community of over 250,000 people, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln offers the ideal Big Ten collegiate experience for graduate students at an affordable cost.

Apply now