Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for graduate studies at UCB Physics Department?

Applicants must apply online. UCB does not have paper graduate application forms.

Applicants must submit all supplementary materials online:

  • transcripts
  • Undergraduate Course and Textbook List
  • resume/CV (optional)
  • publication list (optional)

NOTE: If you are recommended for admission to the Physics PhD program, you must submit official copies of your transcript for final approval of your admission by Graduate Division's Graduate Admissions Office.

What are the application deadlines?

Berkeley Physics Ph.D. Program has only fall admissions. 2021-2022 graduate application deadline is December 15, 2020 at 8:59 PM (Pacific Standard Time)/11:59 PM (Eastern Standard Time). Please be mindful of the time zone differences. Applicant and internet traffic becomes very heavy one hour before the 8:59 PM (PST) application deadline. We encourage applicants to submit applications one-two hours before the deadline.

We will begin reviewing complete graduate applications after December 15, 2020. Your application should be complete -- meaning that all of your letters and supplemental materials should be uploaded -- by this deadline. Application review commences immediately after the deadline; as such, we cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline (including letters of recommendation) will be fully reviewed.

All submitted applications will be reviewed. Unless we contact you about missing documents, your application is in review. We typically begin making offers of admission in mid-February. Our final offers of admission will be made no later than mid-March.

What examinations are required?

All applicants:

  • Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on applicants' abilities to take entrance exams, Berkeley Physics Department will not be considering Physics GRE or General GRE score reports in the upcoming admissions cycle. At this time, no determination has been made if the GRE and/or Physics GRE scores will be required application materials for graduate admission in fall 2022 and beyond.
  • Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL): Applicants from non-English speaking countries must also take the TOEFL, unless they have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university. We will accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores in lieu of TOEFL scores. Please visit Graduate Division's TOEFL information webpage for the latest TOEFL information.

Educational Testing Services (ETS) codes

  • Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berkeley Physics Department will not require Physics GRE or General GRE score reports in the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.
  • Institution Code for TOEFL: 4833

For more details on the GRE and TOEFL, please visit ETS website:

How much is the application fee, and how do I pay for it?

The non-refundable application fee for US citizens and current permanent residents is $120; for all others, the fee is $140. Updated: 10/2019.
You must pay the fee by credit card.

Is it possible to request an application fee waiver?

In the cases of financial hardship, domestic applicants (US citizens and permanent residents) may request a fee waiver from the Graduate Admissions Office by completing the Request for Waiver of the Graduate Application Fee of the Graduate Application. Please go to for more information.

What kind of financial aid is available?

All applicants are considered for fellowships and teaching or research assistantships. Admitted applicants who were not awarded fellowships are offered Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) appointments. Generally speaking, physics graduate students start research once they pass the preliminary examinations.

Will you have specific dates set aside for admitted applicants to visit?

Open House for admitted applicants is usually scheduled mid March/early April. Learn more about this event.

What is the procedure for transferring from another graduate program?

Students wishing to transfer from another graduate school program must submit the same complete application as undergraduate applicants. Please review the FAQ, “How do I apply for graduate studies at UCB Physics Department?” Although we will not require you to repeat any graduate level course work you have already completed, you are still required to finished 38 units of approved course work towards the Ph.D (35 units for M.A.).

Can apply I apply for the M.A. program?

The department does not consider applications from those intending to work toward the M.A. degree only.