Department of Physics Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bryn Mawr College

Department of Physics Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, PA
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 3
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
2 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Physics Graduate Studies in a Liberal Arts Setting

Bryn Mawr College Department of Physics offers prospective students an exciting combination of academic excellence, provocative research opportunities, and competitive financial support in a distinctive liberal arts environment.

The department's small size allows students and faculty members to work closely together and for graduate coursework to be handled in small tutorials, often tailored to the needs of the students.

Doctoral and Master Degree Programs in Physics

The Physics Department offers both Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degree programs in experimental and theoretical research specialties. These include atomic and optical physics, molecular spectroscopy and dynamics, nanoscience and spintronics, quantum field theory and string theory, and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance.

The M.A. in Physics Degree Program at Bryn Mawr

The M.A. degree program is a research-based program requiring completion of 4 graduate courses and 2 research-based courses. Two of the courses may be transferred from another institution. Most students graduate in 2 years.

The Ph.D. in Physics Degree Program at Bryn Mawr

The core work of the Ph.D. degree program path is at least 12 units of physics courses. Successful students also complete original research dissertations worthy of publishing, as well as dissertation defenses and comprehensive examinations. A master's degree program en route to the Ph.D. degree program is available. Many students find that completing a master's degree is helpful to their study; however, doing so is not a requirement for the Ph.D. degree program. Students also undertake written and oral exams covering quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, classical mechanics, special relativity, and statistical mechanics. They defend original dissertations.

Innovative Research in Physics at Bryn Mawr

The Physics Department at Bryn Mawr has been recognized and sponsored by agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the American Chemical Society, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current research topics include: solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, spintronics, nanomaterials, molecular spectroscopy and dynamics, ultracold Rhydberg atoms, high-energy physics, string theory, and quantum field theory.

Well-known Faculty Members in Physics at Bryn Mawr

Among the notable scientists at Bryn Mawr is Elizabeth F. McCormack, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, and the American Council for Education. Professor McCormack investigates fundamental aspects of molecular excited state-structure and dynamics using a variety of laser spectroscopy techniques. Her interests include Rydberg and ion-pair state dynamics, photoionization, autoionization, predissociation, and photodissociation. Various techniques employed include resonant multiphoton excitation and detection, time-of-flight mass spectroscopy, and resonant, 4-wave mixing in the frequency and time domains.

Professor Michael W. Noel has received the prestigious NSF Career Award. Professor Noel serves as a referee for the journals "Physical Review Letters," the "American journal of Physics," and the "European Physical Journal." His research interests include laser cooling and trapping, resonant dipole-dipole interactions, low temperature plasma physics, many body interactions, quantum computing, and quantum control.

Professor Xuemei May Cheng has already received an NSF CAREER award, and 2 other regular NSF grants to fund her research activities. She is an elected member of the Steering Committee of the Advanced Photon Source Users Organization. She has been invited to serve on review panels for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has also reviewed grant proposals for NSF and Department of Energy (DOE). Her research interests include: (1) spin dynamics in magnetic nanostructures, (2) interface magnetism, (3) magnetic properties of complex oxides, and (4) dimensionality-controlled nanostructures.

Professor Michael B. Schulz's work focuses on string theory and its applications to particle physics and cosmology. His current research seeks to elucidate the rich geometrical structure that underlies generalized string theory compactifications, and to develop a more complete picture of how 10 dimensional string theory gives rise to realistic 4 dimensional quantum field theories that can describe the world. His work has been supported by the NSF.

Admission and Financial Assistance at Bryn Mawr

Currently, each full-time graduate student in good standing in the program is receiving a generous stipend, full tuition remission, and a subsidy toward health insurance coverage. Continuing support is provided depending on progress toward a degree and, in the case of teaching assistantships, satisfactory performance in the instructional laboratory. Advanced graduate students may receive support through faculty research grants from the NSF or other foundations.

Top-Notch Facilities at Bryn Mawr

Students at Bryn Mawr have access to the Advanced Photon Source (APS) of Argonne National Laboratory and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. On-site facilities available to graduate students include a UHV sputtering deposition system, a photolithography system, an atomic force microscope, an electrochemical deposition system, a Class 1000 soft-curtain cleanroom, a Vibrating Sample Magnetometer, X-ray diffractometer, solid state NMR spectrometer, tunable pulsed and CW laser systems, a molecular beam apparatus, 2 ultrahigh vacuum systems for laser cooling and trapping, as well as a machine shop to create custom scientific apparatus.

A Beautiful Campus

Long recognized by publications such as "LIFE" and "US News and World Report" as among the most scenic campuses in the nation, Bryn Mawr is set 11 miles west of Philadelphia, PA, in the stately suburb of Bryn Mawr. The stone buildings on campus are the forerunners of what has become known as the Collegiate Gothic style of buildings. Today, over 40 buildings share a campus of 135 acres, much of it laid out in gardens and walking paths.

Location & Contact

Department of Physics

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Bryn Mawr College

101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
United States

Maria Dantis

Graduate Program Administrator

Phone: 610-526-5074

Xuemei Cheng

Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 610-526-5357

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Physics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Not reported
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? No
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


0% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 8
    • Accepted 0
    • Acceptance Rate 0
    • Enrolled Not Reported
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $50
    • Application Fee - International $50
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 3rd January 3rd Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, GRE Subject Test
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, GRE Subject Test
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 600 paper based

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsJanuary 3
    • Types of financial support availableResearch Assitantships, Teaching Assistantships, Tuition Waivers, Federal Work-Study, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Scholarship and/or loans, tuition awards

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students6
    • Female Percentage33%
    • Male Percentage67%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students6
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Full-time Percentage100%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino0%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian50%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian17%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown33%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty7
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage29%
    • Male Percentage71%





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