A researcher reviewing data on multiple computer monitors.

Doctor of Philosophy in

Program of Study


The core curriculum will solidify your intimate understanding of physics, while elective courses and research areas spanning cosmology, quantum mechanics, robotics and medical imaging will allow you to customize your education.

Demonstrate your knowledge and intellectual growth through a dissertation for an opportunity to discuss and present your original, significant contribution to physics.

A minimum of 60 credits with an average grade of B or higher on both overall and on core courses  is required.

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electrodynamics 1
  • Electrodynamics 2
  • Quantum Mechanics 1
  • Quantum Mechanics 2
  • Computational Methods
  • Solid State Physics 1

Electives (12-33 credits)

At least four letter-graded graduate courses with an average grade of B or higher in physics, or in other fields as approved by the physics graduate studies committee. Sample courses:

  • Introduction to General Relativity
  • X-Ray optics, Analysis and Imaging
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Particle Physics
  • Introduction to Cosmology

Research (3-24 credits)

Research as approved by the advisor.

Transfer or Advanced Standing Credit

Up to 30 credits of core and elective courses may be transferred from another institution as approved by the physics Graduate Studies Committee (GSC).


Your dissertation is expected to represent a significant and original contribution to physics. The dissertation research must be publicly presented, and approved by your research committee, the department and the university. Past Dissertations

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact [email protected].



Study with faculty who are highly active in research in areas such as information and computational physics, biophysics, quantum mechanics, particles, robotics and medical imaging. You can examine autonomous robots that explore space or the structure of electronic spectra.

Take advantage of relationships with CERN on the ATLAS experiment, the high-profile LUX/LZ Dark Matter searches, the study of string theory and electron analysis.

Translate this research experience into career preparation by publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals and making presentations at international conferences.

Researchers working with technology

Career Outcomes


A PhD in Physics qualifies you for employment in the highest levels of academia and industry.

Potential job titles for Physics PhD include:

  • Professor
  • Astronomer
  • Research scientist
  • Lecturer
  • Developer
  • Data scientist

UAlbany graduates have gone on to secure a number of varied careers in physics including jobs at:

  • Lockheed Martin
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
  • Stanford University Cancer Center
  • U.S. Army Research Laboratory
  • Higher education departments across the world
  • Global Foundries
  • IBM
  • Intel

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: Not Available
  • Summer: Not Available

 No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: July 15
  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: Not Available
Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of goals

The statement is generally one to two pages discussing what you have to offer the program and what you wish to get out of the program.  It should include a brief description of the applicant's field of interest, related background, desired area of study and research emphasis or career goals. 

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct independent research.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to review and present relevant background literature.
  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of advanced concepts.