Graduate Degree

Graduate Degree & Admissions

Each fall, approximately 45 students from colleges and universities around the world begin their Ph.D. studies in the graduate program in Physics at UC Berkeley.

Ph.D. candidates are required to pass written examinations in classical and modern physics (the preliminary exams), which are offered at the beginning of each semester.

After completing their preliminary exams, students are encouraged to establish connections with a research group as soon as possible. The Physics Department at Berkeley is large, with diverse faculty interests that span the full spectrum of modern physics. Associations with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and opportunities to participate in research at the Space Sciences Laboratory, the Molecular Design Institute, or with faculty in related departments on campus further expand the range of possibilities for graduate research.  Nationally-ranked programs at Berkeley such as Astronomy, Molecular and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics are also important resources for our students.

We believe in making the department a pleasant and productive place for students, faculty, and staff, a task made easier by the physical beauty and cultural richness of the San Francisco Bay Area. Weekly colloquia, over a dozen specialized weekly seminars, and a weekly department tea create an exciting, friendly, intellectual environment, and provide opportunities for students to interact with distinguished visitors from other laboratories and institutions throughout the world. Annual social events include the department picnic and holiday party.

The normative time to Ph.D. is six years. After graduation, Ph.D. recipients from Berkeley take their place among the nation’s scientific leaders, in both academia and industry.

The Physics Department only admits graduate students for the fall semester. The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission to the Ph.D. program is December 11, 2023 at 8:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time)/11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time).