College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Laura Sales and grad students

Graduate Program Information

The Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy awards a Ph.D. degree in Physics. You can choose from many research areas for your Ph.D, including nuclear and particle physics; condensed matter physics; surface physics; atomic, molecular and optical physics; biophysics; materials and nanoscale physics; astronomy, astrophysics; cosmology and astroparticle physics.  A new Ph.D. Program in Astronomy is expected to begin in Fall 2023.

All candidates for the M.S. degrees must complete 36-quarter units of approved letter grade courses. Of these, at least 24-quarter units must be in the 200 series. Each course must be passed with a grade of "B-" or better. Each student must maintain an average for all courses of "B" or better. The remaining requirement is completion of either of the following two plans:

  • Plan I - Satisfactory completion of a thesis in a field of physics to be chosen in consultation with a faculty supervisor. A committee designated by the department will evaluate this thesis. In addition, Phys 401 is required.
  • Plan II - Satisfactory performance on the comprehensive examination.

Under either plan all requirements for the Master's degree must be completed no later than the end of the sixth quarter.

The Ph.D. requirements are a written comprehensive examination, satisfactory completion of nine core graduate courses and at least three elective graduate lecture courses, an oral qualifying examination in the general area of the candidate's proposed research, a dissertation describing the results of the candidate's original research, and a final oral examination conducted by the candidate's doctoral committee.

Research Facilities
The department occupies a modern, specially designed building and fully equipped auditorium/lecture hall complex. General facilities include undergraduate teaching laboratories, graduate research laboratories, large machine and electronics shop, staging areas for construction of large experiments, and sample preparation areas for condensed-matter research. Specific facilities include a large clean room for micro detector design and testing, a femptosecond/picsecond laser facility, and ultrahigh vacuum laboratory. The university also has a class 100 nanofabrication facility for use by students and faculty. These support the department's research in elementary particle and heavy ion physics, laser and surface science research, optical physics, astrophysics. Research in particle/heavy-ion physics is conducted at national and international facilities [LHC, RHIC, and Fermilab].
Financial Support
Teaching assistantships are available at a rate of $21,911 plus tuition, for the 2019-20 nine-month academic year. Research assistantships and fellowships are also available. All graduate students in physics are supported by teaching or research assistantships, fellowships, government funds, or private sources.
Cost of Study
Registration and other fees are approximately $5,793 per quarter in 2019-20. An additional out-of-state tuition and fees of $5034 per quarter is charged to non-California residents. U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States may become California residents after living in the state for one year. All tuition fees are usually provided for all domestic teaching assistants and fellowship holders as part of their financial aid in the first year.
Living and Housing Costs
Two- and three-bedroom houses, renting for approximately $945-$970, are available for families at the Oban Family Student Housing on campus. Private apartments next to campus range around $1,000 for one bedroom to $1,400 for two bedrooms. The prices decrease with distance from the campus and there are a wide variety of accommodations in the neighborhood of the campus, and many modern apartment buildings are within walking distance. The Housing Office may be reached at (951) 827-6350 or by email at Child care facilities are available for students on campus.
Student Group
The campus enrollment for Fall 2019 was 24,000 students; roughly 3,341 of these students were enrolled in graduate programs. Graduate enrollment in physics numbers 144, with students coming from many parts of the United States and abroad.
Riverside is a city of approximately 324,722 people located 50 miles east of Los Angeles, and 100 miles north of San Diego. The city is named for the Santa Ana river that flows through it and is the birthplace of the California citrus industry. It is the twelfth largest metropolitan area in the US. The area features orange groves, a superb winter climate, and abundant recreational facilities. The San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains close by offer hiking and, in the winter, downhill and cross-country skiing. Palm Springs and the high desert are 60 miles to the east, and the Pacific Ocean is 50 miles to the west.
The University
The University occupies a spacious 1,200-acre modern campus at the foot of the Box Springs Mountains. The campus was established in 1907 with the founding of the Citrus Experimental Station to conduct research in the agriculture of southern California. In 1954, the College of Letters and Science was established, and in 1959 Riverside became a general campus of the University of California. Traditionally, the sciences have been strongly emphasized on this campus.
Graduate applications must be submitted from the internet website from Graduate Admissions.  Please see the UCR graduate division page for deadlines for full consideration including nominations for fellowships.
Degree Requirements

General Entrance Requirements

Masters Degree

Doctoral DegreE IN PHYSICS


Student Affairs Office
Department of Physics
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

Telephone: (951) 827-5332    Fax: (951) 827-4529







Let us help you with your search