Graduate Program FAQs

Q. Is a subject GRE required for application?

A. No. Subject GRE scores can be sent at the applicant's discretion.  There is no penalty for not sending in a subject GRE score.

Q. What is the minimum GRE score to be admitted?

A. The Physics Department does not have specific minimum scores for the GRE. The admissions committee prefers to look at the application package as a whole, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.

Q. Is there a minimum for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

A. The absolute minimum TOEFL score is 550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based) as set by the graduate school.  Due to financial or other difficulties, often international students have trouble arranging for a TOEFL score.  In these circumstances, students can interview with the department or submit an alternative test score (e.g. Duolingo or equivalent) in order to establish english proficiency.

Q. What kind of support is available for graduate students in Physics?

A. Unless they indicate they have other support, students who are accepted in the Physics program are offered teaching assistantships to support them during the early part of their graduate education. Most Ph.D. students become research assistants while working on their thesis research. A few work as TA's during the summer. Current information on stipends is available by contacting the chair of graduate admissions at

Q. How does the cost of living near UNH compare to other parts of the United States?

A. There are various advantages and disadvantages to attending schools in different parts of the USA. The small town versus big city debate will never end, but one advantages of small towns is that the cost of living is usually lower than in near-by large cities. In other words, the prices of things like housing and food will be lower, so you can live comfortably on less money. That said, the Seacoast of New Hampshire is a popular area and the cost of living is above that of a rural area.  The following web site has a calculator for the salary you would need to have for a living wage by county near different universities:  You can simply search this by county to compare - UNH is in Strafford County.

Q. What kind of work does a TA do?

A. The majority of TA's work on lower level undergraduate courses under the supervision of a faculty member. Many TA's serve as laboratory instructors for large lecture courses. Some do only grading work. On average, TA's spend about 20 hours a week on their teaching duties.

Q. Does the Physics Department admit students for the Spring Semester?

A. The Physics Department only rarely accepts students for Spring admission. It is better for students if they start in the Fall, given the order and availability of the courses they need to take.

Q. I am an international student and have heard it is difficult to get a visa. What happens if I am admitted to UNH, try to come, but cannot get a visa?

A. This is a difficult problem we have been facing over the last couple of years. Our practice has been to defer admission as long as there is a reasonable chance the student may get a visa.

Q. How do I apply for graduate school in Physics at UNH?

A. Potential students should contact the graduate admissions coordinator directly at While the application process goes through the graduate school, the physics graduate admissions coordinator can help guide you through the process and answer questions.

Q. I want to study space science and see that there is a Space Science Center at UNH. What is its relationship with the Physics Department?

A. Students in space science at UNH are enrolled in the Physics Department. All of the space science teaching faculty and nearly all of the research faculty hold joint appointments in Physics and the Space Science Center.