Physics (Ph.D.)

Physics (Ph.D.)

Grad student teaching a class in front of a blackboard

The Physics Ph.D. program prepares students for a career in industry, education, research or academia. Students will progress from studying a core curriculum encompassing fundamental areas of physics to taking elective classes in their area of interest. They will then conduct original research in a particular research area, leading to their PhD dissertation and defense.

For more details, please consult the physics graduate student handbook.


Please visit the Graduate School website for detailed instructions about applying to the program.

Cognate in College Teaching

The Cognate in College Teaching is essentially a minor in college level teaching; this minor is given in association with a PhD degree only (not with a Master's); it is not a stand-alone degree. The purpose of the Cognate is to prepare future faculty for their role as teachers.  For more information please see the College Teaching program page in this catalog.


Department of Physics
DeMeritt Hall 237A
9 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2669
Email: Physics 

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Curriculum & Requirements

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

PHYS 805Experimental Physics (or equivalent demonstrated experimental proficiency)4
PHYS 931Mathematical Physics3
PHYS 935Statistical Physics3
PHYS 939Classical Mechanics3
PHYS 941
PHYS 942
Electromagnetic Theory I
and Electromagnetic Theory II
PHYS 943
PHYS 944
Quantum Mechanics I
and Quantum Mechanics II
PHYS 806Introduction to Physics Research and Teaching (two semesters, taken during the first year in the program)1
Select four additional 3+ credit elective courses, of which 2 may be at the 800 level 112
Total Credits38

Students are required to

  • demonstrate proficiency in teaching,
  • pass the written comprehensive exam, and
  • pass an oral qualifying exam on a thesis proposal.

Degree candidates are required to

  • register for a minimum of two semesters of PHYS 999 Doctoral Research,
  • pass the oral dissertation defense, and
  • successfully submit the final dissertation to the Graduate School.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 15 (for funding); after that on rolling basis until April 15
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: Spring admission by approval only

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: VT

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

GRE Optional

The GRE scores are optional, if you wish to provide scores please email the scores directly to the department once you have submitted your application online.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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