Graduate Studies

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2024 Application Announcement

Submission of the General GRE and Physics GRE scores are Optional for PhD applications received by the December 15, 2023. For more information on applying to our program, please see here.

Prospective Student Page       Past Informational Webinars 


The study of physics has revealed a world remarkably united around a small set of fundamental laws and basic forces of nature. These laws govern phenomena as varied as the behavior of subatomic particles and the motion of galaxies, making the study of physics a basic foundation for all the physical and life sciences.

At Yale, theorists and experimentalists explore and test the physical laws of nature, searching for new phenomena that will provide evidence for more comprehensive and unified theories. Yale’s Department of Physics is recognized for its experimental and theoretical work on nuclear, atomic, solid state, and high-energy particle physics. We also work very closely with other departments to bridge the gaps between sciences.

Our PhD program helps students acquire a general foundational knowledge of physics, and learn to communicate and educate others on that knowledge. Our students are involved in a wide range of research, expanding the world’s understanding of the laws of physics. More information on the graduate program can be found on our Program Details page.

Research areas

Research areas include atomic physics and quantum optics; nuclear physics; particle physics; astrophysics and cosmology; condensed matter; quantum information physics; applied physics; and other areas in collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Applied Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Geology and Geophysics, Astronomy, and Yale’s Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology (PEB). Please see our Research pages for further information.

Course Requirements

Over the course of the first and second years, students are required to complete six foundational courses, one advanced elective, two research seminars, and one special investigation. Our foundational courses cover classical mechanics, electromagnetic theory, mathematical methods, quantum mechanics, and statistical physics. Students may choose from a wide range of classes as their advanced elective(s). During the first year, students are given the option of taking pass-out exams for each of the foundational courses. Students who successfully pass an exam are exempt from taking the course and can choose an advanced elective to take in place of the foundation course. More information regarding course requirements, waivers, and pass-out exams can be found on our Academic Requirements page.

Prospective students

Prospective students interested in learning more about our PhD program, please see our prospective student pages. Application season is August to December for the following academic year. All students start in the fall.


Karsten Heeger, Department Chair, 203-432-3650,
Daisuke Nagai, Director of Graduate Studies, 203-909-4266,
Helen Caines, Director of Graduate Admissions, 203-432-5831,
Rona Ramos, Graduate Program Coordinator, 203-432-3655,
Stacey Watts, Graduate Registrar, 203-432-3605,