Admission to the Graduate Studies in Physics program at Duke University is based on a number of factors. These include recommendation letters, personal statement, grades (especially those in key physics courses), school quality, GRE scores (general and subject), TOEFL scores (if applicable), papers, research, and areas of interest.
Applicants for admission are normally expected to possess, or be in the process of completing, an undergraduate degree with a major in physics, or in a related field with a strong concentration in physics. Undergraduate courses in general physics, mechanics (at the level of Marion), electromagnetism (at the level of Griffiths), optics (e.g., Hecht/Zajac), modern physics (e.g., Bernstein, Fishbane, and Gasiorowicz), quantum mechanics (at the level of Liboff), and thermodynamics (at the level of Reif) are assumed, in addition to appropriate mathematical training (i.e., linear algebra plus tools at the level of Hildebrand). It is expected that the applicant's grade average in physics and mathematics will be at least "B". Students lacking one or more of the important undergraduate courses will be asked to remedy this deficiency by self-study or by enrolling in the corresponding courses at Duke. If you have any questions about the background expected of an incoming graduate student, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).
Applicants should submit scores on all four parts of the Graduate Record Examination (including physics achievement) as part of the application. Students from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English via the TOEFL exam; the minimum acceptable score is 550 (paper test), 213 (CBT - computer-based test), or 83 (internet-based test), or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0. Information about these examinations can be obtained from Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540.
There are no quotas based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or national origins. The Admission Committee uses the same review process for international and domestic students. The Physics Department seeks, and have, an international community.
The recommendations for acceptance may be influenced by the areas of field, availability of funds, and the competition among applicants.
An Admission Committee is composed of Physics faculty members representing the entire spectrum of research in the Department.
In (middle or late) February, the Admission Committee
makes recommendations to the Dean of
offer and its
The Admission Committee will keep some applicants into a
waitlist, but later on all applications will make
recommendations (offer/deny) to the Dean.
The Admission Committee decisions are final, and does not give reasons for its recommendations.
See the FAQ for further information.
Last year (2011/12), 16 students were came to Duke Physics, from 48 students were accepted out of 209 applicants. Average GRE scores and undergraduate GPA were as follows (Verbal - V, Quantitative - Q, Writing - W, Subject - S):
The Graduate School have some other statistics for the Department of Physics.