Graduate Program
Graduate Program

Work with internationally recognized leaders in three subdisciplines of physics

Our department offers doctoral degrees with specializations in three major subdisciplines of physics. We do not offer a separate program for the M.S. degree, though an M.S. degree may be obtained while continuing toward your Ph.D.

We are located in Jorgensen Hall on the city campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. We collaborate with numerous centers on campus including the P-SPINS Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Center for NanoFerroic Devices.

Our faculty bring in well over $15 million per year in research funding, which provides graduate students with:

  • Research assistantships
  • Support for travel to national and international meetings
  • Access to state-of-the-art research equipment, including computational facilities and fully staffed electronic and instrument shops

26
Faculty

93
Graduate students

$15.1M
Annual research funding

95
Ph.D. theses since 2005

269
High-profile publications since 2005

11
Fellows of the American Physical Society

Areas of study

Atomic, Molecular, Optical, and 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 and 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. It also performs theoretical studies of hadronic interactions, neutrino physics, and dark matter and energy. Nebraska 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 spend time at CERN as part of their Ph.D. research.

Meet our students

Karl Ahrendsen

"One of the major deciding factors for me choosing Nebraska was the focus on students. Even on my first visit, the faculty made clear they were excited to work with me towards my short and long-term goals."

Karl Ahrendsen

Harindranath Ambalampitiya

"UNL Physics and Astronomy is my home away from home. My advisor’s kindness and guidance keep me motivated to achieve my goals. While being a PhD student, I have been able to gain teaching experience, attend conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals. These achievements will benefit me in finding a career after my PhD."

Harindranath Ambalampitiya

Thilini Ekanayaka

"The Ph.D. program in physics at UNL has helped me develop my knowledge and build up my future career. I participate in outreach programs and publish most of my research work in condensed matter physics in peer-reviewed journals. I have attended many conferences and won best-poster and research awards."

Thilini Ekanayaka

Labs

Explore five of our labs by moving your phone or dragging your mouse around in this 360 Virtual Tour.

Meet our faculty

Ken Bloom

"We play a leading role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment operating at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. We also perform theoretical studies on Higgs physics, collider physics, particle cosmology, and new physics models. Our faculty and graduate students participated in the discovery of the Higgs boson and are developing instrumentation and computing facilities for the experiment."

Ken Bloom

Xia Hong

"We study the fundamental properties of functional materials and nanostructures, and develop novel device concepts for information processing and storage, energy harvesting, and sensor applications. The P-SPINS Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience (NCMN) conduct world-class research in magnetic, ferroelectric, and low dimensional materials, offering an exciting collaborative environment for graduate students."

Xia Hong

Martin Centurion

"We investigate ultrafast atomic, molecular, and plasma processes at state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities. Current research areas include quantum electron optics, ultrafast molecular imaging, spin polarized electron sources, relativistic laser-matter interactions, nonlinear X-ray optics, attosecond physics, high energy density physics, plasma physics, and strong-field physics. We build novel instruments and also carry out experiments at large scale facilities."

Martin Centurion

How to apply

Let curiosity move you to start your story at the Department of Physics and 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.

Admission Requirements and Guidelines How to Apply Preliminary Exams Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)