Admission to our program is competitive. We are looking for students who have an aptitude for physics research and who have demonstrated through their coursework and other activities a firm foundation in undergraduate physics and the ability to work hard.

Thank you for considering the PhD degree program in physics at Illinois. Before you apply, please review our criteria and instructions below.

Getting Admitted to our Graduate Program

Graduate degrees at the University of Illinois are administered by our Graduate College. To apply, you will complete an online application through the Graduate College online application online portal. You will then submit supplemental materials by traditional post, per the table below.

The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission is January 15, 2024. All materials, including letters of recommendation and official test score reports, must be received by that date for consideration to our program. Applications that are incomplete after January 15 are not considered.

We admit graduate students in the Fall only; there is no Spring admission.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your application is correct, complete, and submitted by the deadline.


Required Components of a Complete Graduate Application

Documentation Submitted By Submission Method
Application Forms Applicant Create an individual account in the Graduate College online application and complete the forms online prior to deadline.

Non-Refundable Application Fee

US$70 for domestic applicants *

US$90 for international applicants

Applicant Pay online with a credit card prior to official submission of your completed online application.
Unofficial Transcripts Applicant Upload as part of your online admissions application.
Official Transcripts Previous Institution(s) Attended

Only after you have accepted our offer of admission, arrange to have mailed through traditional post one original transcript and certificate of degree from each prior school you have attended. Do not submit this during the application process.

Department of Physics Graduate Office 227 Loomis Lab
1110 W. Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Letters of Reference Referees (prior physics instructors and research supervisors) Register your referees (recommenders) within your online admissions application; from the online system, you will invite each to submit a letter using the online portal.
Statement of Purpose, List of Publications, Honors, Awards, etc. Applicant Submit online
Examination Scores Submitted By Official Score Report Submission
GRE General Tests (optional); Physics GRE Subject Test (optional) ETS University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, institution code 1836
TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable) ETS or IELTS University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The institution code for TOEFL is 1836.
TSE (Test of Spoken English—highly recommended if applicable) ETS University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, institution code 1836

Applicant's Proposed Program and Field of Specialization

On your online application form, you will be prompted to choose your Proposed Program or Department: select Physics from the drop-down list. For degree you wish to pursue, select PhD (we do not offer a traditional terminal MS program, the goal of our graduate program is the PhD). For Field of Specialization, type inside the provided text box the area(s) you are most interested in studying. Possible choices are included in the table below.

Fields of Specialization in the Department of Physics

Theoretical Physics Experimental Physics
Astrophysics & General Relativity (apply to Physics) Astrophysics (also consider applying to the Department of Astronomy)
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics
Biophysics (You may also be interested in applying to the Medical Scholars Program in the School of Medicine.) Biophysics (You may also be interested in applying to the Medical Scholars Program in the School of Medicine.)
Complex Systems Complex Systems
Condensed Matter Physics Condensed Matter Physics
High Energy Particle Physics High Energy Particle Physics
Nuclear Physics Nuclear Physics
Physics Education Research Physics Education Research
Quantum Information Science Quantum Information Science
Undecided Undecided

Graduate Admissions Contact

S Lance Cooper

Lance Cooper
Associate Head for Graduate Programs
227 Loomis Laboratory
(217) 333-3645

Have questions about the admission process?
Read through the Admissions pages or contact us.


Apply Online