How to Apply


Approximate admissions target for Fall 2024 (PhD):
Quantum/condensed matter experiment: 9+
Quantum/condensed matter theory: 3-5
Biophysics: 3+
High energy experiment: 1-2
High energy theory: 1
Astrophysics and cosmology: 4-5
Physics education research: 0-1

Physics and Astronomy Graduate Program Application

(Or access the application by copying the following link:

The Physics and Astronomy department only accepts applications for the upcoming Fall Term.

Domestic Applicants
All US citizens and current US residents

Our online application requires you to submit the following:

  • Personal Statement: At the beginning of your statement, please rank-order your specialization interests. A personal statement is a statement which should discuss the applicant's intellectual and professional interest in graduate study in one or more of the areas in Physics and Astronomy. Discussion of interests in the work of specific faculty members/research groups is encouraged. Telling us about your relevant experience, including research experience is helpful. In addition, you may use this space to address any personal, cultural, and socioeconomic factors which have affected your academic career or intellectual growth. This is optional; your application will NOT be affected by omitting any discussion of hardships.
    The personal statement carries significant weight in admissions decisions. (no longer than 2 pages at no smaller than 11pt.)
  • CV: This should include a list of relevant textbooks used and chapters covered.
  • Three letters of recommendation: References must submit their recommendation letters electronically through the application system. We are unable to accept letters through mail or email.
  • Copies of transcripts : Legible English copies of unofficial transcripts of all college-level institutions attended with or without degrees conferred at the time of submitting application and updated upon conferring degrees.
    Certified “official” English transcripts are required if you are selected for admissions for enrollment.
  • General and Subject Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional. If you believe that any of these scores will strengthen your application, you are invited to provide them. Conversely, the absence of any of these scores will not adversely impact your materials for the review process.  Scores should be no more than five years old. If you so choose, the GRE should be taken soon enough for results to reach the University and available to the Department of Physics and Astronomy so that they are accessible by our January deadline. Submit to the University of Pittsburgh School Code 2927, Department Code 0808. 
  • Application fee of $75. In an effort to reduce financial barriers to attending graduate school, the Kenneth P. Dietrich Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers application fee waivers. Please make sure to submit the fee waiver survey and any supporting documents to receive an application fee waiver code which will remove the application fee.​ We encourage all of our applicants to submit the survey. Fee waivers are approved on a case-by-case basis and all requests will be reviewed and responded to within 48 hours during normal business hours: Monday - Friday 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. EST. More information can be found on the Graduate Studies site and through the application system. The admissions committee is not notified about fee waiver requests and they have no impact on the prospect of being admitted.
  • Application and all supporting materials are due by January 2nd
    Applications that are delayed because a fee waiver request has been submitted by January 2, but not approved yet, still receive full consideration.

Internal Applicants, please see our Internal Application Process Page for more details.

International Applicants

All of the above plus:

  • Demonstration of English language proficiency either through the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test. Note: Any non-native English speaker that is a U.S. permanent resident or with refugee status, and has been in the U.S. less than 2 years, is required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo test with acceptable scores.
  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores should be no more than two years old. Submit to the University of Pittsburgh School Code 2927. The minimum TOEFL score is 90 (with at least a score of 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing. University of Pittsburgh TOEFL code: 76 and/or 61.
  2. The minimum IELTS score is 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections).
  3. The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken on demand in one hour (requires computer with camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection). It involves an adaptive test via a graded section that evaluates applicants’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills (45 mins) and a video interview recording answers to open-ended questions (10 mins). Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. For more information, please visit Duolingo’s website. A minimum Duolingo total score of 120 is required. Applicants must share their Duolingo test results either by uploading them as a PDF in their online application or by sending the test results in PDF format to the Graduate Administrator for the admitting program.

English test exceptions have been made on a case-by-case basis for applicants with a bacholer's (or higher) degree from a U.S. institution or nationals from countries indicated on this LIST.

The online application requires applicants to self-report their ‘Standardized Test’ (i.e. TOEFL, IELTS).  Applicants must upload a document of their English language proficiency as ‘Optional Document for English Proficiency Exam’.  This would include the IELTS and Duolingo scores. The University of Pittsburgh currently receives official TOEFL scores through a batch process (details explained in TOEFL results below).  The applicant must request that their official scores for TOEFL and Duolingo to be sent to the University of Pittsburgh, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

  • Upon learning of your decision in response to our offer, we will forward your information to the Office of International Services (OIS).  At that point, you will be contacted by OIS directly on how to submit any financial documentation, if applicable.  More information to become familiar with OIS's financial requirements can be found HERE.  Becoming familiar with this document will expedite the process for visa documents, once admitted.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Application Process can be found here.

Upon acceptance, official final transcript(s) and documents with evidence of degree(s) may be emailed to

or mailed to:

University of Pittsburgh
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Director of Graduate Studies Admissions
University of Pittsburgh
910 Cathedral of Learning 
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

If you cannot find an answer on our FAQ Page, further questions may be directed to:

Graduate Administrator