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Physics, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #407 (QS) , TN,
Students are required to find a research advisor and form a doctoral committee before the end of the second year of study. This committee is responsible for advising the student and monitoring his/her progress toward the doctoral degree.


Students concentrating in nanomaterials must take a minimum 15 hours of 600-level courses, of which at least 6 hours are offered by the department and at least 6 hours are from a list of courses offered by several departments which are appropriate for a concentration in nanomaterials. This list is available from the Director of the Graduate Program. In addition to the departmental core curriculum listed above, they must take additional courses at the 400- through 500-level, with at least 6 hours offered by the department and 6 hours from the list.

Students concentrating in energy science and engineering must take a minimum of 15 hours of 600-level courses, of which at least 6 hours are offered by the department and at least 6 hours are from a list of courses offered by several departments which are appropriate for a concentration in energy science and engineering. This list is available from the Graduate Program Director.

The qualifying examination is designed to test the student’s general knowledge of the fundamentals of physics. The performance needed to pass this examination corresponds to a mature command of the material typically included in  the undergraduate physics major curriculum. 

The qualifying examination should be passed after the student’s first year of study. Based on the student’s performance on the qualifying examinations, the course work, the GRE scores, and optional research participation, the faculty will decide if the student will be allowed to continue in the PhD program.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Credits
    72 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

    Schedule TOEFL®
  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

Admission requirements:

  • The completed online Graduate Application for Admission 
  • A non-refundable application fee 
  • One unofficial transcript from all colleges and universities attended submitted on-line at the time of application to the Graduate School
  • The submission of official transcripts and degree certificates
  • Departmental application
  • Reference letters or rating forms

Tuition Fee

  • International

    31538 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 31538 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    13120 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 13120 USD per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Knoxville

  • 885 - 1460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.