FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General Questions Regarding the Ph.D. Program in Physics:
- Do the UT graduate programs in Physics and Astronomy require a physics undergraduate
While an undergraduate degree in physics remains desirable, we increasingly see students from varied backgrounds (in science, math, and/or engineering) thrive within and successfully complete our graduate programs.
- How many applications are submitted each year? How many students are accepted?
We reviewed ~80 completed applications for Fall 2014 admission; the number of students admitted to the Ph.D. program is typically 10-12, with an additional ~6-8 students admitted to our Masters programs, including the PSM-PV.
- What are the minimum GRE, GPA, and English language exam scores for admitted applicants?
Although we do not specify minimum scores for the GRE General Exam, we consider all components to be important (Verbal, Analytical Writing, as well as Quantitative), and applicants should work hard to improve their scores as much as possible. The minimum undergraduate GPA required is 2.7, though our application process is competitive and successful applicants typically have significantly higher GPAs. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score required to apply for admission is 80 on the internet-based test (iBT), and to be eligible for a teaching assistantship (TA), the applicant must score at 22 or higher on the Speaking component of the TOEFL iBT.
- What factors are considered in the application review process?
Our admissions committee considers past academic performance, research and professional experience, and standardized test scores. In addition, letters of recommendation and the applicant’s personal statement are reviewed for motivation and vision for long-term goals.
- What are the requirements to complete a PhD?
The full requirements are listed separately.
- How many years does it take to complete the PhD requirements?
The duration of the program depends on the individual student’s preparation and productivity, but students typically complete the degree program within 5-6 years.
- Is there a fixed period for financial support?
While there are fixed periods for financial support (assistantships with tuition waiver), the details depend upon the number of credit hours accumulated. For example, students in a Master’s program lose financial support eligibility once they have reached 34 credit hours (37 for the PSM-PV program), while PhD students entering with a MS degree lose support once they reach 140 credit hours. PhD students entering the program without an MS degree lose support after reaching 174 credit hours.
- Can I apply for acceptance to a specific faculty member’s research program?
Although prospective students are welcome to contact specific faculty, our department does not assign students to a specific faculty member’s group until the student has enrolled, begun taking courses, and has taken the opportunity to discuss possible thesis research appointments with approximately five faculty in the department. Students are welcome to inquire about summer and/or semester research opportunities, which sometimes proceed concurrently with student TA responsibilities.
The Application Process
- When is the deadline for applying to the Ph.D. program in Physics?
The deadline for full consideration for Fall admission with assistantship is January 15th, though we encourage applicants to complete the process weeks in advance to avoid any unforeseen delays or logistical issues.
- How can I arrange a visit to the Physics Department?
Applicants within the US who receive admission offers are invited to visit the Department during the regular spring scheduled visit dates. Informal visits can also be arranged by contacting the Graduate Admissions chair.
- Is it OK if my test scores or transcripts arrive after the deadline?
Although short delays of 1-2 weeks in the arrival of your test scores or transcript typically will not present a serious problem, longer delays may likewise delay your application entry into our review process. Thus, we encourage you to complete the application process as early as possible, and inform the Graduate Admissions Chair of any delays in test scores.
- Can I just send copies of my test scores?
No; unfortunately, we can only accept scores officially reported to us directly by ETS.
- Do you offer Spring semester admission?
Although our Department does not offer a Spring admission date, highly-qualified applicants interested in starting in Spring should contact the Graduate Admissions chair, providing a single .pdf file showing your qualifications as well as a brief explanation of your interest in Spring admission.
- My GRE and/or English language exam test scores will not be reported before the application
deadline -- can I still apply?
Yes, you should still apply though your application may not be reviewed until it has reached the completed status including test scores.
- Does the Department of Physics and Astronomy provide application fee waivers?
Unfortunately we are unable to offer application fee waivers.
Can I transfer course credits earned at another University?
The question on treatment of physics courses taken elsewhere before entering the University of Toledo graduate programs in Physics and Astronomy is considered on an individual basis. We consider the course level, the textbook used, and the grade that you earned for the course. If the course levels and the textbooks are similar to our courses, and we see no additional basis for concern, the credit transfer is likely to be granted.
To officially waive one or more core courses within the PhD degree requirements, the student must wait until after full passing the PhD Qualifying Exam; at this time, the student's advisory committee needs to endorse the waiver. Note that the Department may not be able to transfer credit for courses taken at a foreign institution.
- Does the Department of Physics and Astronomy provide English language exam score waivers?
There are no exceptions to the TOEFL requirements for international applicants from non-English-speaking countries. However, completion of at least one year of graduate level study at a U.S. university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, qualifies the applicant to apply for an assistantship without TOEFL scores.
- How can I receive an update on the status of my application?
Please check your status online at application.utoledo.edu to determine which items remain outstanding. If you have additional questions after reviewing your status, please note that all documents are posted to a student’s file within 5 business days of receipt. If you have questions after reviewing your status and allowing sufficient time for documents to post, please feel free to inquire about your specific concern through email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to Yolanda Allen [email@example.com].
- When will I be notified of a final decision?
Final admission decisions are rendered on a rolling basis, with initial admission offers sent typically in late January. As we receive notification from admission offers, we add admission offers to reach our target goal for the number of students admitted and enrolled. We seek to complete the application review/decision process by the middle of April.