Graduate study in the Department of Physics is strongly focused on research leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. We welcome students from diverse backgrounds and strive to provide a sense of community and inclusiveness where students are enabled to achieve their full potential. The Physics Department maintains an active research program with equal emphasis on theoretical and experimental studies. Primary research areas are theoretical and experimental elementary particle physics, theoretical and experimental gravity and cosmology, experimental nuclear and atomic physics, mathematical physics, theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics, and theoretical and experimental biophysics.
Students are encouraged to involve themselves in research activities right from the beginning. Early research participation leads to a more mature appreciation of the formal aspects of graduate study and a mastery of the skills necessary to succeed in independent work. It also allows a closer association with faculty members and a more natural transition to independent research later on. While research for the doctoral dissertation is the most important component of the program, the Physics Department also offers intensive training on best practices for teaching and scholarly presentation of research results. Together, this comprehensive training is designed to prepare students well for careers in academia and research at government or industrial laboratories, as well aa a broad range of non-academic careers in the private sector. The average time to completion of the Ph.D. is 5.4 years.
Interdepartmental Research Opportunities
Physics department faculty and graduate students are active in research collaborations with scientists in several other departments, including astrophysical sciences, plasma physics, chemical & electrical engineering, chemistry, biology, neuroscience, and quantitative and computational biology, as well as the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials. If prior approval is obtained, students may conduct their research under the supervision of advisers from outside the physics department.
University housing is available for graduate students, with first-year students getting priority. It is common for students to live in University housing for a year or more before moving into privately-owned apartments in town.
Princeton is a very pleasant place to live. The center of town, across Nassau Street from the campus, contains a growing number of restaurants, ice cream parlors, coffee houses, and pubs, all within easy walking distance. The University and town also provide an impressive schedule of concerts and dance performances, an award-winning theater company, and lectures of a wide variety. New York City and Philadelphia are each only an hour away; a connecting train stops a short walk from the physics building.
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