Graduate Admissions: How to apply


General Admission Policy:

Before starting your application process please read this page. We also recommend that you continue to refer back to this page while you are working on your application.

If you have any technical questions about the application (e.g how do I upload..., how do I enter_______ information, or why haven't I received my confirmation email yet?) please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at

We only review and accept applications for Autumn term. We have two graduate programs: a Master to Ph.D. Bridge program, and a Ph.D. program. We do not offer a terminal Master program.  

What are the minimum requirements that I need to meet, to successfully apply to the Physics Ph.D. program?

What are application deadlines?

What do I need to do to apply?

Detailed Graduate Admissions Policy/Application instructions

Is there an application fee?

What happens after I submit my application?

We offer financial support for all of our admitted students.** Therefore the number of applicants admitted is limited to the amount of graduate support available. Support is available in the form of fellowships, graduate research associateships, and graduate teaching associateships. For more information funding your Ph.D. please see our 'Funding your Ph.D.' page. (coming soon)

** Self-funded or externally sponsored applicants should contact us with your intent to apply to our program, as we consider these requests on a case by case basis .If you would like to apply and you have sponsorship from an outside source, such as a company or government scholarship, please contact the program coordinator directly for more information. Her email address can be found on the Physics Graduate Student home page. 

Minimum Requirements

Applicants to the Physics Graduate Program MUST meet the following criteria of the OSU Graduate School (these requirements cannot be waived):

  • an earned baccalaureate or professional degree from an accredited college or university by the expected date of entry.
  • a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative point-hour ratio (on the 4.0 scale used at this university) in all previous undergraduate and graduate work.
  • prerequisite training that will enable the student to pursue the graduate program to which admission is sought, e.g. upper level physics courses, lab or research experience.
  • International students must meet the minimum score requirement of an english proficiency test, as listed below. This requirement applies only to any applicant from a country where the first language is not English, unless a bachelor’s degree or higher was earned in an English-speaking country.
    • TOEFL- 550, internet based TOEFL (IBT)- 79, Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)- 82, International English Language Testing System (IELST)- 7.0
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general tests will not be required for Autumn 2021 applications  -The OSU Physics PhD Program uses a comprehensive admissions procedure that carefully considers all parts of a student’s application. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the regular nor Physics Subject GRE are required for admissions to the PhD program for Autumn 2021, and submitted GRE scores will not be used in admissions decisions.

Program Requirements for Physics

  • GRE Physics Subject test will not be required for Autumn 2021 applications   -The OSU Physics PhD Program uses a comprehensive admissions procedure that carefully considers all parts of a student’s application. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the regular nor Physics Subject GRE are required for admissions to the PhD program for Autumn 2021, and submitted GRE scores will not be used in admissions decisions.

For more information about Ohio State's Graduate School, please visit The Graduate School at OSU.

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Application Deadlines for submitting your application

International applicants: November 30th

Domestic applicants: December 15th

To have a better chance of winning a fellowship, please apply by December 1st. This deadline is not required, but is preferred.

All supporting materials including official transcripts, letters of recommendation must be received no later than December 15th

Students with completed applications, a GPA of 3.6 or higher will automatically be considered for the University Fellowship Competition.  

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 How to apply

Every applicant must start by completing an online application that can be found here Many of the required materials listed below should be uploaded with your application. Please read carefully, and be sure to complete the entire application. Special note: If you are not working in a blue application, you are not applying to the correct semester. Please click on the link above and select Autumn semester.

Additional, required, supplementary materials include:

  • 1 copy of an OFFICIAL transcript from all colleges and universities you have attended, where college credit was earned
    • This includes schools you attended for only a short time (even if the transfer credit shows on another transcript). 
    • Advising reports or PDF documents of web page listings of courses and grades are NOT acceptable.
    • Once received, your transcript(s) will be uploaded to your application by the admissiosn office. Sometimes that doesn't happen so if it is still missing after 5 working days from the expected receipt date, please email the admissions office at
    • For further information please see the frequently asked questions page on the graduate admissions webpage.
    • If you have any difficulties attaching your transcripts, you can email them to, and they will upload it to your application.
      • Please do not send your transcripts to our department, or to the Grad Studies email.
      • Please be sure to redact (black out) all U.S. social security numbrs if your transcript copy woudl use that number.
    • Secured, electronic versions of transcripts can be sent to
    • Mailed transcripts can be sent here:

GP Admissions

Ohio State University

P.O. Box 182004

Columbus, OH 43218-2004

  •  NOT required for Autumn 2021 applications: Official GRE General and Physics test scores
    • Due to Covid-19 restrictions preventing ETS from holding GRE exams, GRE test scores will NOT be used for Autumn 2021 application consideration. 
  • 3 letters of recommendation 
    • We will not accept any additional letters of recommendation beyond the required 3, even though the application system will allow you to request more.
    • Although the new application system requires you to enter information for you recommenders, it does not automatically initiate your request for a recommendation. You will receive a confirmation email, after submitting your application, that will give you instructions about how to request your letters. 
    • You will be able, and expected, to monitor the progress of your recommendations
    • Please visit this link to the Admissions FAQ on References for further information. 
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Please upload a Personal Statement (maximum of two pages).
    •  Please discuss your academic record, research experience, research interests, motivation for obtainingyour Physics PhD at the Ohio State University, and your long-term goals after obtaining your PhD.
    • Please address any substantial gaps or blemishes in your academicrecord.
    • In addition to evidence of strong physics scholarship and research ability, we are also looking for other qualities in graduate students that would help them succeedand would add to graduate student culture.
    • If applicable, you may include examples of leadership, community engagement, determination to overcome obstacles, and thedesire to add to and support a culture of diversity.
    • If you have any difficulties attaching your personal statement of purpose, you can email it to, and they will upload it to your application. (Please do not send this document to our department or to the Grad Studies email.)
  • Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) or Resume
    • Please limit to 1-2 pages   
    • This document should be uploaded with your application.
    • If you have any difficulties attaching your C.V. or resume, you can email it to, and they will uploaded to your application.
      • Please do not send this document to our department, or to the Grad Studies email.
  • Official English proficiency test score  (Due to Covid-19 and limitations on exam scheduling, we will update this information with the the other options available to be taken online or if other methods of English proficiency are offered.)
    • This is required of international applicants or those who have held the status of U.S. Permanent Resident for less than one year.
    • The TOEFL IBT test is required unless it is not offered in your country
    • Minimum scores required for admission consideration: TOEFL- 550, internet based TOEFL (IBT)- 79, Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)- 82, International English Language Testing System (IELST)- 7.0
    • If you do not meet the university minimum TOEFL IBT score (79), you cannot be considered for our graduate program.
    • We cannot waive the TOEFL requirement or consider scores near (but below) the minimum. 
    • TOEFL scores are valid for up to two years following the test date.
    •  Ohio State's institutional code is 1592. 
    • Applicants who are citizens of, or who have received a bachelor's degree (4yrs or more) from one of the following countries are exempt from the English proficiency requirement: Australia, Belize, the British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Optional Supplementary Materials

  • Writing Sample (THIS IS NOT REQUIRED)
    • ​If you choose to further elaborate on any publications you may have (as publication should be noted in your resume) you may upload a list of publications, or an abstract
    • In total, you should not submit more than 1 page for your 'writing sample'
    • Please do not attach any papers, presentations, thesis, etc. They will not be saved, nor printed for your file. 
    • You should upload your list or abstract(s) in the writing sample section of your application
    • If you have any difficulties attaching this document, you can email it to, and they will upload it to your application.
      • Please do not send this document to our department, or to the Grad Studies email.

  Please email if you have any further questions about our program or application process. Email the graduate admissions office at for any technical questions about the application.

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Application Fees

First, please be sure to select "Physics" from the drop down menu on the application for what program you are applying for. The Department of BioPhysics is a separate department with a full application fee as is the Dept of Astronomy so please be sure to select the correct program from the drop down menu on the application. 

For the Physics program, at the end of your application you will be asked to pay an application fee. This is $60 for U.S. citizens and $70 for international students,   

Please see the Graduate Admissions page for information about possible fee waiver options and for the instructions to request one:          -Please note that it can take up to 5 to 7 days for fee waiver requests to be processed so please plan accordingly for the due dates for submitting your application. 

Cal-Bridge students should please email to request an application fee waiver code.

Information from this web page: 

  • Take the required actions for your fee waiver request well in advance of your program's application deadline to allow for processing. If there are fewer than 10 business days left, we recommend you do not request a fee waiver. Here's why: If your waiver is denied and your program's deadline has passed, the application will be closed and you will not be able to apply for admission.
  • We will not review your admission application until your waiver is approved or the application fee is paid.
  • All waiver requests will be verified.
  • Only one fee waiver is permitted per academic year.
  • The application fee is NONREFUNDABLE. If you pay the application fee, we can no longer honor your fee waiver request.

If you would apply to the wrong program , please contact the admissions office right away and ask for their assistance in correcting your application submission.

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After Submitting Your Application

After you submit your application you will receive a confirmation email from Please note that it can take a few days for this confirmation email to be sent. If you have not received it within 4 days of submitting your application, please contact the Graduate Admissions office You confirmation email will assign you an OSU ID and Internet username (lastname.#) with directions to activate your account. You must activate your account to electronically prompt your recommenders for letters, and to monitor the status of your application. Please monitor your spam/junk mail. and send requests for letters of recommendation. 

Once you activate your account you can monitor the status of your application at  There, you will be able to:

  • Verify/update your contact information
  • Check your application status by clicking the Application Status link on the main page, then the Status link for the application
  • Review what items have been received (and what, if anything, still needs to be submitted) by clicking the Application Requirements tab
    • Due to Covid-19, applications for Autumn 2021 will need to have manual updates to the check list items for GRE scores to enter a "waived" status on them.  This process will take at least 5 to 10 working days after your application is submitted so your application may show that these are still outstanding items on your check list when you monitor your application status. Please disregard those 2 items on your checklist as we will be updating all applications so show that these are waived as requirements.
    • Post Covid-19: ​Please note that your Physics GRE score may not register as 'completed' on this page. We are monitoring this piece of information by hand, and will contact you if we find that it is missing. (Do not inquire about whether or not we have received your Physics GRE score.)

We begin our review process in early January. If we are missing any of your paperwork, we will contact you directly via email during that time. We receive a large volume of applications and it is difficult for us to respond to individual requests for confirmation of having received materials, therefore it is very important for you to take responsibility and monitor the status of your application and materials regularly on OSU's application system. 

If at any time you do not remember your ID, Username, or password, help is available at If you need assistance with the activation code request process, please visit; or, contact the IT Service Desk by e-mail at or calling (614) 688-HELP (4357). For those applicants who do know their current password, passwords may be changed or reset by following the instructions at:, or by contacting the IT Service Desk.   

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We usually only have room for about 10% of the number of applicants received and we further have to factor our offers based on the number we have the budget to cover therefore unfortunately we have to disappoint many qualified students interested in our program.  We receive many applications from students with good GPAs and excellent recommendations and we have to turn them down due to other factors such as their grades in undergraduate physics courses, letters of recommendation, and the amount of practical research experience.  In addition, we also receive some applications from students who do not meet the graduate school's minimum criteria such as their undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0 or for international students, their TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB scores are too low and therefore we are required to deny their applications.   


Last updated 10/27/2020