Wayne State University

Aim Higher

The Wayne State Department of Physics and Astronomy provides state-of-the-art research facilities and offers excellent research opportunities in theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics (including biomedical physics, nanophysics, and the physics of complex materials),  high energy nuclear physics, particle physics, and astrophysics.

Members of our faculty participate in major international collaborations at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), KEK (Tsukuba, Japan), Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and SLAC National Laboratory.

Graduate Studies Admission Requirements

The Department of Physics & Astronomy is accepting applications for its Ph.D. program.

All applications received before January 15  will receive full consideration for admission and assistantships during the following Fall semester (September). Applications for assistantships received after this date will be considered depending upon the availability of positions.

To be considered for graduate admissions, an applicant must hold or be completing an earned baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing. In addition, prerequisite preparation should include completion of general college physics with laboratory (equivalent to PHY 2170/2171, 2180/2181, and 3300/3310), fifteen credits in intermediate physics courses (e.g. equivalent to PHY 5200, 5210, 5500, 6400, 6410, 6600 and 6610); mathematics through PHY 5100; and CHM 1220/1230 or equivalent courses.

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General and submit their score with their application. Please note that GRE scores are a very important consideration for admission and award of financial support. The Physics GRE is optional but strongly recommended.

Prospective applicants whose first language is not English are further required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam. A score of 550 or higher is required on the paper based test. The minimal required score on the computer-based test is 213.  A score of 50 or higher on the TSE (Test of Spoken English) satisfies the language requirement for a teaching assistantship. Alternatively, applicants for a teaching assistantship must receive a score of 50 or higher on the SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit) test after arrival at Wayne State.

Visit the Wayne State Graduate School website for further details about  Graduate School admissions criteria.

Application Procedure for Graduate Admission 

All applications and required documents must be submitted ONLINE via the Wayne State website http://gradadmissions.wayne.edu.

Please do NOT send any hard copies of your documents. Required documents include your academic records, three letters of references, GRE/TOEFL score sheets, and a personal/research statement. Only complete applications including all these required documents will be considered.

The Department evaluates all complete applications on a rolling basis beginning on January 15th, and informs you of our departmental recommendations for admission and financial support. If you indicate that you wish to be considered for admission if financial support is not available, we will inform you of our recommendation regarding admission. Since most decisions on support for new students are made considerably before the beginning of the academic year (fall semester begins in late August) for which aid is sought, we strongly advise that you submit your application materials as early as possible.

For more information, please contact Claude Pruneau, Chair of the Graduate Admission Committee

Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantships

Financial support is provided to incoming and continuing qualifying PhD students by means of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), and selected fellowship programs. 

All incoming Ph.D. students are automatically considered  for GTA, GRA, or the Rumble Fellowship program. However, the number of assistantships and fellowships awarded to incoming students varies from year to year. In the fall 2017, the department expects to award up to five (5) GTAs to incoming students while the number of GRA is contingent on external funding.

Stipends associated with assistantships and fellowships were set at $19,177 for the 2016-2017 academic year. In addition to stipends, GTA and GRA positions provide:

  • Tuition scholarship valued up to $14,783 for Michigan residents or $28,905 for non- residents,
  • Dental insurance valued at $205,
  • Medical insurance valued at $3,772.
  • The total value of this support is up to $37,937 (residents) or $52,059 (non-residents).

GTA: Graduate teaching assistant appointments are available to qualified incoming and continuing graduate students. The GTA teaching load involves six-to-eight contact hours per week of laboratory or quiz (recitation) sections per week for students with a nominal  graduate course load of eight to ten credits. Students who are not taking any courses may be given a slightly higher teaching load.

In order to be considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships beginning in the Fall 2017 (Sept 1, 2017), applications for the PhD program should be received by Jan 15th, 2017. Applications must be submitted ONLINE via the Wayne State website http://gradadmissions.wayne.edu. Continuing PhD students seeking financial support by means of a Graduate Teaching Assistantship should contact the department’s chairperson during the winter semester.

GRA: Graduate research assistant appointments are available to exceptional  incoming students as well as continuing graduate students who have joined a research group and make good progress in their research. GRA positions involve no teaching duties. Students are then expected to devote a large fraction of their time on research. 

Incoming and continuing graduate students are expected to contact members of the faculty in their sub-field of interest and eventually join a research group. They may then be financially supported by means of Graduate Research Assistantship

Fellowships: Each year, the department awards a number of fellowships and scholarships, including the Rumble fellowship. The number of such awards may vary year-to-year. To apply, please contact the associate chairperson.

Wayne State University is an equal opportunity employer and follows strict rules against discrimination and harassment of all forms within the University. Accordingly, it is required that, consistent with University policies, the University and its members shall not discriminate or harass on the basis of race, color, veteran status, height, weight, ethnicity, religion, creed, political affiliation, political beliefs, membership in any social or political organization, national origin, ancestry, marital or parental status, age, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or HIV status.


Additional information may be requested by:

Email: Claude Pruneau, Chair of the Graduate Admission Committee

Telephone: (313) 577-1813