Prospective Students

Online Application: Physics PhD Application 

Do you have questions about our program? Please fill out the Inquiry Form.

We are a top-25 Physics Department with 60 faculty members and a history of research excellence.  We have undergone an aggressive expansion over the past ten years (a new Physics Research Building, 17 new faculty members, and a 70% increase in research funding) focused on emerging areas of physics research.   

Research areas include:
G waves
 * Astrophysics and Cosmology: evolution of the universe, ultra high energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, Auger Observatory, ANITA, Ice Cube, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, nucleosynthesis
 * Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics: high energy density physics, ultrafast (attosecond) optical interactions, terahertz spectroscopy
 * Biophysics: molecular mechanics, dynamics and folding, sequence alignment, medical imaging
 * Condensed Matter Physics: nanomagnetism, organic electronics/magnetics, atomic manipulation, complex oxides, correlated electron systems, interface physics, terahertz physics
CMS Detector

 * Cold Atom Physics: theory of many-body systems consisting of extremely cold trapped atoms
 * High Energy Physics: string theory, supersymmetry, quantum gravity, experiments at CERN, FNAL
 * Nuclear Physics: relativistic heavy ion physics, quantum chromodynamics, effective field theory, boson interferometry, quark-gluon plasma, color glass condensate, miniature black holes, experiments at CERN and RHIC and upcoming Electron Ion Collider (EIC)
 * Physics Education: measurement of scientific reasoning ability and conceptual understanding of physics content, quantitative models of learning and assessment, cognitive origins of student difficulties

 Our students and faculty also play central roles in three interdisciplinary research centers that are headquartered in the OSU Physics Research Building:  

1. Center for Emergent Materials (an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center;
2. Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (
3. Center for the Exploration of Complex Materials  (  
We have also recently developed a new MS to Ph.D. Bridge Program in Physics, which strives to enhance the diversity of qualified applicants to physics PhD programs. This program is directed toward students with a bachelor’s degree in Physics or closely related field who are motivated to pursue a PhD, but require additional course work, training, and research experience to excel in a PhD program. 

Hosted by The Graduate School and our campus partners, this 8-week series of virtual information sessions are designed to guide prospective students through the graduate school application process. Webinars are on youtube.

  • Crafting a Competitive Application 
  • Paying for Graduate School Without Loans
  • How to Write a Stand Out Personal Statement
  • Successful Strategies for Acquiring Strong Recommendation Letters


Visiting the Department

Students that receive an offer of admission will have an opportunity to visit our department during our Open House in the spring (generally in March).

Prior to applying to our graduate program, we encourage visits to our department but respectfully request that you make an appointment first to ensure our availability. We would prefer to avoid visits in December and January. These months are among the busiest for the Graduate Studies Office and many of our faculty and students, as well as staff, schedule time away for the holidays. Please contact us directly about scheduling a self guided visit by emailing We will do our best to accommodate all requests.

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Cal-Bridge Partnership

OSU has a partnership with the Cal-Bridge program. There is a fee waiver available for any Cal-Bridge student who applies to our PhD program. If you'd like more information on the fee waiver please contact Crystal Moloney at