Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS in Physics and Astronomy (36 cr, Option III only)
  • PhD in Physics and Astronomy (90 cr)
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

  • Atomic, Molecular, Optical, and Plasma Physics
  • Condensed Matter
  • High Energy Physics
  • Materials Physics
  • Nanotechnology

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Physics and Astronomy

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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
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
Virtual Tour

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Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

2. Required by Physics and Astronomy

  • 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/CV

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

Application Deadlines for Physics and Astronomy
  • For Financial Consideration: January 31 for Fall.
  • Otherwise: Rolling admissions. Students are admitted for fall semesters only; contact the department for more information.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. Our academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years.


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.

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Courses and More

Faculty and research

Where available, names link to bios or homepages and contact card icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

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

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 PhysicsGraduate Faculty Associate

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 NanostructuresGraduate Faculty Associate

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

Frank Golf

Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) esperiment at CERN

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

Rebecca Harbison

Isolated a Signal in the VIMS Solar Occultations; Observing AGN Variability

Xia Hong

Materials Science; Epitaxial Growth and Nanofabrication of Complex Oxide Heterostructures; Transport Studies of Nanoscale and Low-dimensional Electron Systems

Peisi Huang

Theoretical Particle Physics, Including New Physics Beyond the Standard Model; Higgs Physics; Collider Physics; Particle Cosmology

Sitaram Jaswal

Magnetic Materials; Magneto-Resistance MaterialsEmeritus

Roger Kirby

Nanoscale and Nanostructured MaterialsEmeritus

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

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 MaterialsEmeritus

Xiaoshan Xu

Experimental Condensed-Matter Physics

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Physics and Astronomy.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Kurt Mueller.