All application waiver requests should be directed to the Graduate Division of Art and Sciences (

Please do not send transcripts or other documents to the “admiss@upenn” email address.


Information for applicants to the graduate program:

The graduate program in physics and astronomy is directed primarily towards the PhD degree, emphasizing completion of an original and significant research investigation. The department will, however, award a M.S. degree signifying a knowledge of physics well beyond the undergraduate level but without the comprehensive background and intensive research effort of the Ph.D.

The departmental research program presently emphasizes experimental and theoretical works in particle physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, and astronomy.

Further information about the online application process may be obtained by clicking on the link below: 

(Codes: School 2926, Department 0808)

Special Admissions Requirements

A Bachelor's degree in physics, astronomy, or a related science is required. If the Bachelor's degree is not in physics or astronomy, a strong physics minor is necessary. Prior research experience is strongly encouraged.

For applicants whose native language is not English, the TOEFL exam is required to demonstrate proficiency in English. We do not require GRE scores as part of our admissions process, but like many other items of a student’s application—transcript, letters, statement—they may provide information about you as a student that might otherwise be missed. If you have chosen to take the GREs and feel that they demonstrate an ability that is not shown otherwise by your record, please note this in your research or personal statements.

In the personal statement, all Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following:

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.

For Further Information

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Pennsylvania
209 S 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6396
telephone:(215) 898-3125
department (215) 898-8141

Admission Statistics

  • Address admission inquiries to: Admissions Coordinator, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Graduate application fee required: $90
  • Admission deadline (Fall admission): December 15
  • Admission information: We typically make offers of admission to about 12 percent of those who apply.
  • Admission requirements: Bachelor's degree in physics, astronomy or a related science. If the Bachelor's degree is in another field, a strong physics minor is required. No minimum undergraduate GPA is specified. No minimum score on the GRE verbal and quantitative is specified.
  • Undergraduate preparation assumed: A typical student will have completed intermediate and advanced courses in mechanics (Marion, Becker, etc.); electricity and magnetism (Reitz and Milford, Corson and Lorrain); quantum mechanics (Saxon, etc.); and undergraduate laboratory.

Transfer Credit

Students may receive credit for graduate courses taken at other institutions, though no more than 8 credits may be transferred. For more information, contact the Graduate Chair with your transcript and a description of the topics covered in the class.


Cal-Bridge logo

The Cal-Bridge program has the mission of creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups to participate and advance in physics, astronomy, computer science, and computer engineering and to increase their numbers in PhD programs in those fields. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania is a dedicated partner of the Cal-Bridge program. Learn more about the Cal-Bridge program here.

aps logo

The APS Bridge Program is a post-baccalaureate program lasting one to two years that provides students with research experience, advanced coursework, and coaching to prepare them for a graduate school application.
Through the Bridge Program, APS is working to increase the number of physics PhDs awarded to underrepresented minority (URM) students, identified as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous, by creating sustainable transition programs and a national network of doctoral-granting institutions. The Bridge Program also provides students with the opportunity to receive mentoring so that they can successfully complete PhD programs, build and strengthen their professional networks, and explore new career paths.