Frequently Asked Questions

What are the application deadlines?

The Ph.D. program application deadline is Jan. 31 for Fall admission, Sept. 30 for Spring admission. The graduate admissions committee starts reviewing all completed applications for Fall admission in late January. We do review applications that come in after the deadline; however, the later they arrive, the more likely it is that financial aid, including lucrative fellowships, will already have been committed. We continue reviewing applications until our entering class is complete.
Top of Page

Can I start graduate school in the Spring semester?

Students who have already completed at least one semester of coursework at the graduate level, or those with an especially strong academic background, are encouraged to apply for Spring admission. The deadline for applications for the Spring semester is Sept. 30.
Top of Page

What is the status of my application?

You can check on the status of your application through MyRED using your NU ID. Once in MyRED, go to the Graduate Admissions page and click on "Application Status in Your Department." Your application must be complete for the admissions committee to evaluate and conduct a review. We begin making offers for Fall as early as mid-February and will continue making offers until the entering class is filled.
Top of Page

Can I submit an application without the GRE, the Advanced GRE, or the TOEFL?

The general GRE is an important component of the materials used by the Graduate Admissions Committee to make admissions decisions. Applications without the general GRE will be considered incomplete and will not be evaluated. The Physics GRE is strongly recommended. Students from non-English-speaking countries must submit a TOEFL or ILETS score for their application.
Top of Page

What test scores do I need to get to be considered for the graduate program?

Students from non-English-speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English via the TOEFL exam or the ILETS.
A minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL, 80 on the Internet-based, or 213 on computer-based TOEFL is required for consideration.
The minimum score for the ILETS is 6.5.

Applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree from an institution where instruction is in English are exempt from submitting a language test.

Beyond this requirement we evaluate each application on its own individual merits. There are no required minimum scores; however, we rarely admit students with undergraduate GPAs less than 3.0. A GPA of 3.5 or better is required to be considered for fellowships, which provides additional stipends to outstanding entering students.
Top of Page

Can I be admitted to the Physics Graduate Program without a previous degree in Physics?

Your previous degree may be in a closely related field, as long as your coursework included upper-level physics classes in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and electrodynamics.
Top of Page

Should I submit a personal statement?

Yes. A one-page statement describing why you are interested in graduate school is required. What you would like to accomplish helps the admissions committee decide whether we would be a good match for you.
Top of Page

How many applications do you receive? How many graduate students do you admit?

It varies from year to year. The department has about 90 graduate students total. Recent entering classes have ranged from 12 to 18.
Top of Page

Do you admit graduate students from other countries?

Students from any country are welcome to apply. We have a diverse graduate student body that includes students from around the globe. Lincoln has many immigrants from around the world, which creates a hospitable and friendly environment for graduate students who may be far from home during their studies.
Top of Page

Do you accept students in my particular field of interest?

We offer the opportunity to research in three subdisciplines: Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics (AMOP); Condensed Matter/Materials Physics (CMMP), and High-Energy Physics (HEP). We admit students with interests in all three subdisciplines each year.
Top of Page

Will you look over my information before I apply and tell me if I have a chance of being admitted?

The volume of applications we receive makes it impossible for us to pre-evaluate your chances of admission. We do not have minimum scores. Each application is reviewed independently by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Many factors are taken into account including transcripts, GRE scores, TOEFL scores, curriculum vitae, personal statement, letters of recommendation and published papers. Individual faculty are not able to make decisions regarding applicant admission.
Top of Page

I would like to transfer from another graduate program. Will my courses transfer? If I’ve taken qualifying or comprehensive exams at my current institution, do I have to take them again at Nebraska?

If you are in a traditional physics program, up to 45 graduate credits may transfer, subject to evaluation by the Graduate Chair. Any student receiving a degree from the Department of Physics & Astronomy must take each of the exams required for that degree at Nebraska.
Top of Page

If I’m accepted, will I be eligible for funding?

We typically admit students with full funding, either through a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, a fellowship, or some combination of these three. Our full-time graduate students are almost always fully funded. Assistantships provide a stipend and full tuition remission, as well as a contribution to health insurance. The standard TA stipend for one year is $23,616; however, outstanding students are eligible for additional fellowships, which range from $1,500/year to $8,000/year. Lincoln is a relatively inexpensive place to live. A nice apartment can be had for $600-$800/month and the median house price is $147,000.
Top of Page

Do you have any fellowships for incoming graduate students?

Yes. All admitted graduate students are automatically considered for supplemental fellowships, which increase the stipend from $1,500 to $8,000 per year. You do not need to do anything extra to be considered for one of these fellowships. If you are offered a fellowship, your acceptance letter will include the details.
Top of Page