Prospective Graduate Students
We are always on the lookout for outstanding people to join us. Whether you want to be a physics major, or are seeking to begin graduate studies in physics, we'd like to hear from you.
- Physics Graduate Program Brochure (large pdf)
- Graduate School Interest Page
- Research opportunities at the VT Department of Physics
- Graduate Student Handbook
- University Student Life Page
Choosing a graduate program is a critical decision. You want to attend a quality graduate school that will prepare you well for a career in your field of interest. We also understand that you want to have fun while pursuing your degree. We have a quality graduate program, are located in a beautiful part of the country, have a young, energetic faculty and a reputation for making your student tenure at Virginia Tech a successful and enjoyable one. Here is an overview of our requirements and the application process for your convenience. We encourage you to apply and invite you to contact our graduate program coordinator with any questions you may have.
Applicants who wish to pursue a graduate degree in the Physics Department at Virginia Tech must hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S.) from an institution of recognized standing.
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation should be submitted, preferably through the online application system, via email directly from your references to minimize delay
During the online application process you need to write a short essay about your personal goals and your reasons for choosing to come to graduate school.
- GRE general test
- GRE physics subject test
- For international students we require the TOEFL. The graduate school's minimum TOEFL score is 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 90 (internet-based test). (see the Graduate School's application website for more information). For the TOEFL ibt, the minimum breakdown is as follows:
The Graduate School requires your complete academic record (transcripts from all colleges you have attended). The minimum GPA for admission is 3.0. The Graduate School calculates your GPA based on your last 60 undergraduate credit hours. Exceptions may be made for students who have also earned significantly higher GPAs in graduate programs (minimum graduate GPA of 3.4, minimum 15 credit hours).
The following guidelines apply to undergraduate programs outside the U.S.:
- British-patterned education: bachelor's degree with honours
- French-patterned education: degree or diplome requiring four years of post-baccalaureate study
- Germany: minimum three to four years of post-secondary study (Vordiplom plus one year)
- Other European countries: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
- Middle East: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
- Canada: three-year bachelor's degree from Quebec, four-year bachelor's degree from all other provinces
- Latin America: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal: bachelor's degree in engineering, master's degree in all other fields
- Philippines: five-year bachelor's degree or four-year bachelor's degree plus one year of graduate work
- Other Asian countries: university degree requiring a minimum of four years of study
Students who are unsure of the U.S. equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service. ALL applicants for admission to the graduate program are required to take the GRE general and Physics tests. International students whose first language is not English are also required to take the TOEFL test.
Our deadline for Fall admission (for full consideration) is January 5th.
- Please follow the instructions of the ApplyWeb system to complete the application process.
- You will be asked to provide the email addresses of 3 references who can provide letters of recommendation on your behalf. Please advise them to expect an email from the ApplyWeb system. Faculty who do not wish to avail themselves of this option may mail their letters directly to the department (it is preferred that faculty use their official, institutional email addresses).
- The results of the GRE general and subject test, as well as the TOEFL (if required for international students) must be sent directly to the Virginia Tech Graduate School. Please instruct ETS accordingly (You have to provide the institution code 5859, do not enter the code for the Virginia Tech Department of Physics).
After you successfully submitted your application it will be reviewed both by the Virginia Tech Graduate School and by our Graduate Committee.
The department has a Graduate Committee that reviews all applications for our graduate program. After the committee has reviewed applications, it will make recommendations for admission to the Graduate School. Upon Graduate School approval, official offers of admission will be sent via e-mail and postal mail.
Students from U.S. institutions who are offered admission will receive an invitation to visit campus before the April 15 decision deadline. Our campus visits include meeting with professors and students; touring labs, the department, and campus points of interest; and becoming acquainted with the town of Blacksburg. All campus visits are tailor-made to fit the interests of the prospective student.
All offers of admission to the Physics graduate program include the guarantee of a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) for the first academic year. A GTA includes a monthly stipend, full tuition, and a 90 percent health insurance subsidy for students who enroll in the university student health plan. Students who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 will be considered for future teaching and research assistantships, including summer support.
Additionally, all applicants are considered for any fellowships offered by the Graduate School.
By being selected for financial support after being accepted to Graduate School means you are guaranteed a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) for your first year of graduate studies.
Before beginning a GTA you have to attend the mandatory GTA training workshop which will prepare you for teaching duties. As a GTA you will be assigned tasks including teach labs, grading homeworks, holding recitations and proctoring tests. The workload can be up to but not exceed 20 hours a week.
A Research Assistant is supported by individual faculty members or research groups. Research Assistantships are usually offered to students that have passed the Preliminary Examinations.