Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a degree in Physics in order to apply?
The committee looks at the depth of sciences courses you have taken not the degree type. An undergraduate degree in physics is not required, but your coursework must include the core of an undergrad physics program: mechanics, electricity & magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and experimental (lab) work.
What are the minimum acceptable GRE General and Physics Subject exam scores?
The GRE general exam is required and the GRE subject area test in Physics is also required. We do not have a minimum score requirement. That said, our applicants generally have excellent scores. Those with poor scores in the Physics Subject Test need to provide evidence that they can succeed in our program.
What is the minimum TOEFL Score?
We do not have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS requirement to apply. Graduate students must demonstrate a level of oral proficiency in the English language sufficient to participate successfully in all the various activities that make up graduate education, including teacher. If you are offered admission and accept our offer and have scored below a 28 on the Speaking sub-section of the TOEFL iBT or below an 8.0 on the Speaking sub-section of the IELTS you will be required to take an English placement test at the start of the fall term. Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.
For more information about the English Language Tests please visit http://gradschool.princeton.edu/admission/applying-princeton/english-language-tests.
Can I transfer credits?
We do not accept transfer credits from other schools.
What should I include in my Statement of Purpose?
In your application, you will be required to indicate at least one choice from a menu of the Physics Department's current Areas of Research – see the Department of Physics website Research section for descriptions of the research areas and the current activities in each. Your Statement of Purpose is a good opportunity to make your interests clear. We note that it is not necessary to describe how you became interested in physics. Applicants are usually better served by devoting the statement to a description of their research background and interests. However, if your path to applying to the Princeton Department of Physics was unusual or compelling, please feel free to describe it. In any case, your Statement of Purpose should focus on your specific research interests at Princeton and any relevant research experience.
My GRE and/or English language scores will not be reported before the application deadline. What should I do?
Your application will be considered incomplete until all materials have arrived. Your application will be reviewed once it is complete, but we are well into the admission process by early January. Your case may be weakened if your application is not complete by then.
When will I be notified of a final decision?
The Graduate School will notify all students by March 15. For privacy and security reasons, we cannot communicate applicants of final decisions via telephone.
Can I receive a fee waiver for my application?
The Graduate School offers fee waivers for certain situations. Please see the Graduate School website for further details.
Is there a fixed period of financial support?
Princeton provides full financial support for the first five years. The Physics Department has always been able to support students who need additional time as long as they are making good progress on their thesis and completing assigned duties in a satisfactory manner.
How can I arrange a visit to the Physics Department?
If you are interested in visiting the Physics Department and will be in the Princeton area, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator who can provide you with information about the program. If you would like to speak with a faculty member while you are here, please email the faculty member directly to inquire about their availability.
Check out Visit Us at Princeton University for help in planning your visit.