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» What are the application requirements?

  • An application (see question 2)
  • Application Fee (see question 4)
  • GRE General and Subject Test scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS Test for international applicants
  • At least 3 letters of recommendation
  • At least a Bachelor’s degree, with official academic transcripts
  • Resume or CV, and any other supporting materials you wish to submit

» How do I complete an application to the Physics & Astronomy Department at Texas A&M?

Complete the ApplyTexas Application.
Once you fill out the ApplyTexas Application, send all supporting documents to the department. Visit the Admissions Process page for more detailed instructions.

» What are the application deadlines?

Domestic students must submit their application materials by December 15.
International students must submit their application materials by January 15th.
To ensure full consideration for both admission and assistantships, prospective students are encouraged to have all their materials submitted directly to the department well ahead of the appropriate deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered until all materials have been received. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if spaces remain open after reviewing the applications that were received on time.

» What is the application fee?

Beginning with applications for Fall 2012, the application fees are as follows:

  • U.S. Citizens and permanent residents: $50.00
  • International Applicants: $90.00

Limited financial assistance is available for low-income applicants. Please contact to request assistance.

» Do I need recommendation letters with my application?

At least three letters of recommendation are required.
These letters may be mailed directly to the department or submitted online through AIS by following the steps below.
Once you receive your UIN, you must activate your Net ID on the Applicant Information System (AIS).
You should check AIS regularly to moniter the progress of your application. Once you see a “Processed Date” listed for your application, you will notice expanded capabilities appear within AIS, including a Credentials area where you must enter your referee information in order for letters of recommendation to be submitted online.
If you apply very close to the deadline, please instruct your referees to submit their letters by mail directly to the department to avoid delays in processing.

» How can I find out if my application is complete?

Please keep in mind that, while you will be able to check your application status online through the Office of Admissions, this status may not reflect documents sent directly to the department. The Office of Admissions receives all applications for the university, and this high volume of applications often creates a delay in reporting the status of received documents. The Department of Physics and Astronomy will contact you if any of your documents are missing and hindering the review of your application.

» What is the procedure for transferring from another graduate school?

Please use the regular application (ApplyTexas).
More information on transfer admissions can be found on the Office of Admission’s website.

» What level of undergraduate preparation is necessary for admission?

Most successful candidates majored in physics as undergraduates, or have similar backgrounds. We particularly value core physics classes, such as quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and classical mechanics.

» What is the difference between Physics and Applied Physics?

Physics and Applied Physics are separate PhD programs. You should choose which program to enter based on your individual interests.
For more information on the Applied Physics research program, please visit our Research page.
For more information on the different courses required for each degree, please reference their Degree Plans.

» What are my chances of being admitted?

Admissions decisions are based both on the merit of the applicants and the needs of individual research groups within the department. All applications are weighed against the others, so your odds of acceptence are based upon how the strength of your fellow applicants, especially those interested in the same field.
The department does not employ “cut offs” for test scores or undergraduate GPAs, but evaluates each application as a whole. Thus weakness in one area of consideration (e.g. GRE scores or grades) can be offset by strength in another area (e.g. publications or research experience).

» When will I know if I’ve been accepted to Texas A&M?

Admissions are accepted on a rolling basis, so there are no definite dates. Domestic applications are reviewed first (beginning in December), followed by international applications (beginning in January). Typically, offer letters for early applicants are usually posted before March.
Because of the high volume of applications received by the demartment, only those students who receive offers of admission will receive letters. No rejection letters will be sent.

» If I am not accepted, is it possible to apply the following year?

If you are not admitted and you would like to apply for the next year, you may contact the Office of Admissions and request that your application be deferred for one year. If you are not admitted in the second year still wish to apply, you must fill out a new Apply Texas application.

» What can I do to improve my application?

The best thing you can do is to apply early, which will narrow the pool of applicants with which the department compares your credentials. In addition to applying early, any of the following will help improve your application:

  • Clear research preferences
  • Both general and subject GRE scores
  • Research experience
  • Academic awards and prizes
  • High GPA
  • Scholarly presentations and publications

» Is the GRE offered internationally?

The GRE is offered internationally in some areas. Information on the General and Physics Subject GRE can be found on the Educational Testing Services (ETS) website.

» My GRE scores/letters/transcripts/TOEFL may not arrive before the deadline. What should I do?

Send the department whatever information you have by email (, even unofficial information. This can include your personal score report from ETS and your unofficial grade report from your current university – not just you writing down your grades or scores from memory. Send the official information as soon as you can, and it will be verified by the Office of Admissions when it arrives. If your official scores and grades do not match those that you submit ahead of time, your application may be subject to automatic rejection.

» What are your cutoff scores for the GRE/TOEFL? What is your cutoff GPA?

Texas A&M University requires that applicants whose native language is NOT English satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based exam p-BT) or 80 (internet-based exam i-BT)
  • minimum GRE Verbal score of 400
  • minimum IELTS score of band 6.0 overall
  • completing all years of a Bachelor’s degree or higher at an accredited U.S. university

The department does not employ “cut offs” for test scores or undergraduate GPAs, but evaluates each application as a whole. Thus weakness in one area of consideration (e.g. GRE scores or grades) can be offset by strength in another area (e.g. publications or research experience). For this reason, it is important to submit all relevant documents and physics-related experience (research experience, publications, etc.) to the department in addition to your application.

» Is the TOEFL required of all international applicants?

Yes, the TOEFL is required. For more information about taking the TOEFL, please visit the ETS website.
The university also accepts the IELTS. For more information about taking the IELTS, please visit the IELTS website.

» How can I find out about research at Texas A&M?

You can find out about the wide variety of research that goes in in the Department of Physics and Astronomy by exploring our Research Groups and Research Institutes.
If you discover a particular research group that interests you, you can let the department know in your Personal Statement or by sending an email to Please refrain from sending solicitous emails to multiple faculty members. The Graduate Admissions Committee will happily pass on your inquiries to the appropriate research group.

» How can I contact the admissions committee about my latest research project?

If you have information to add to your application after it has been submitted, such as a new project, publication or accolade, send any relevant documentation to and indicate the faculty to whom it should be forwarded (if applicable).

» What kind of financial aid is available?

The stipend amount for a Teaching Assistant, effective the end of August, 2011, will be $1,850 per month. Most admitted students will also receive either full or partial tuition remission from the department.
In addition to Teaching Assistantships, Texas A&M University offers a number of Merit fellowships (for outstanding academic records) and Diversity fellowships (for minority students in science, as determined by the university) for domestic graduate students.
If you believe you may be eligible for a Diversity fellowship, please briefly include your reasoning in your Personal Statement.

» Do I need to reapply for financial aid in subsequent years?

All students are eligible for Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships after their first year; however, Teaching Assistantships will not be granted to students after their second year except in extenuating circumstances. Students are encouraged to begin to build relationships with faculty in their field of interest in their first year in order to secure a Research Assistantship by the end of their second year.
The department strives to support all of the graduate students it admits, which is why students are admitted based largely on the needs of individual research groups. The vast majority receive support.

» What is ELPE? What is ELI?

The ELPE is the English Language Proficiency Examination, given by the university. International students with low TOEFL scores are required to pass this exam before they are allowed to serve as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. You will be notified in your offer letter if you are required to take the ELPE.
Students who do not pass the ELPE on their first try will be required to take English Language Proficiency courses through the ELI, the English Language Institute, and will be placed in these courses based on their ELPE scores. Students must complete these courses and be certified by the ELI to teach in English before serving as a Teaching Assistant.
For more information, please visit the ELI website.

» Where can I find more information for international students?

To find out more information pertaining to international students at Texas A&M, please visit the International Student Services website.

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