College of Arts & Sciences

Physics - Graduate

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The UK Department of Physics and Astronomy comprises 30 regular and 5 active adjunct and/or emeritus faculty members, 8 post-doctoral researchers, 16 office and technical staff members,  78 graduate and 71 undergraduate students. Among its faculty are 10 Fellows of the American Physical Society and several award winning educators. Undergraduate majors and graduate students take a complete array of courses with small class sizes spanning modern topics in physics and astronomy, and they work closely with faculty researchers in studies of nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter and atomic physics, and astronomy and astrophysics.

Master's Program Description

The M.S. program can include an emphasis on basic or applied physics or physics education, and students are encouraged to take courses in related programs that satisfy the appropriate academic objectives. Before taking the M.S. oral exam, the M.S. student must have completed (with a B average) 16 (plan A with a thesis) or 20 (plan B without a thesis) credit hours in approved graduate courses.

Doctoral Program Description

The Ph.D. degree is a research degree granted on the basis of broad knowledge of physics and in-depth research in a specific area leading to a dissertation (and generally publications in appropriate refereed journals). Students may perform this research at the University of Kentucky or appropriate collaborating institutions. Before taking the Ph.D. qualifying exam, the student must pass the Physics GRE at the 50th percentile or higher and satisfactorily pass core courses in graduate classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics, as well as electives in topical areas of modern physics.

Master's (MS) or Doctoral (PhD) - Application Requirements

  1. Personal Statement
    • Please discuss your career aims and research interests.
  2. Three letters of recommendation
    • ​The Department of Physics and Astronomy would prefer that recommenders fill out an upload their letter of recommendation which can be found at Recommenders can upload the completed document through your recommender invite under “Knowledge of Applicant” using the “upload document” button.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program.

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines
  • Application for admission with financial aid: February 1
  • Application for admission without financial aid: July 19 (domestic applicants) or February 1 (international applicants)


Dr. Chris Crawford

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Physics & Astrononmy

College of Arts & Sciences

177 Chem-Phys Building

505 Rose Street

Lexington, KY 40506-0055