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Department of Physics and Astronomy College of Arts and Sciences University of Kentucky

  • Lexington, KY
  • Public
  • Urban
  • 23%77%
    student ratio
  • 60
    total students
  • Not Reported
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • July 17
    fall application deadline
  • 21%
    acceptance rate
  • 2 Degrees
    degrees/awards offered


The University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, Is Located in the Ideal College Town

The University of Kentucky is located in Lexington, Kentucky, an ideal college town consisting of a metropolitan area with a population of approximately 300,000. Lexington, the 2nd-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd-largest city in the US, is located in the heart of Kentucky's beautiful Bluegrass Region approximately 85 miles from both Louisville, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. The city's vibrant downtown area, just a short walk from the campus, offers numerous theaters, concert halls, and restaurants. Lexington's location also affords the outdoor enthusiast ample opportunities for recreation in the Red River Gorge and the Daniel Boone National Forest, including hiking, rock climbing, and cycling.

The University of Kentucky, the flagship university of Kentucky, was founded in 1865, and is a public, research-extensive, land-grant university with an annual operating budget of $2.6 billion, $300 million in external research grants, a faculty numbering 2,200, and an enrollment of 20,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 graduate students. The university awards nearly 800 doctoral degrees per year. The university's library system holds 4 million volumes and includes subscriptions to approximately 79,000 periodicals , making it a beacon of education in the Bluegrass Region.

The Core Curriculum, Research Facilities, and Research Opportunities Are Key to Physics and Astronomy Graduate Studies

The Department of Physics and Astronomy comprises 32 faculty members, 15 postdoctoral scholars, and 70 graduate students. The department offers active graduate studies research programs in astronomy and astrophysics, atomic physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, nuclear physics, and theoretical particle physics (including string theory). Students can complete thesis research projects in any of these areas for the MS or PhD degree.

The core curriculum consists of one semester of classical mechanics, two semesters of electromagnetic theory, two semesters of quantum mechanics, and one semester of statistical mechanics. In addition to the core curriculum, students complete 3 courses in advanced topical courses, typically in their research areas of interest. The department also requires each student to take an oral qualification exam. Following completion of the core curriculum and the qualification exam, students generally transition to full-time participation in research. Once research is complete, students present an oral thesis defense and submit a written dissertation for the PhD degree. MS candidates may choose to complete additional course work in lieu of MS research theses.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers exceptional access to research opportunities and research facilities. The recently established Center for Advanced Materials offers world-class, on-campus condensed matter research facilities in novel electronic materials, including nanoscale physics. Researchers in nuclear physics perform experiments at national and international accelerator facilities. Particle theorists conducting simulation studies on the space-time lattice use national supercomputing facilities. Additional services are provided by an in-house machine shop, electronics shop, and vacuum shop. Finally, the department maintains a network of personal computers (Linux and Windows) for student use.

Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in physics and astronomy should be aware that mastery in these fields requires both a commitment from the student and dedication to hard work. The rewards of meeting this challenge are considerable, and can provide the aspiring professional physicist with membership in the physics research community -- perhaps one of the greatest intellectual adventures of mankind.

Details on Applications, Fellowships, and University Housing for the Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Study

The application process consists of the submission of an online departmental application form, an application form to the university's Graduate School, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, scores from the GRE General Test, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement detailing research interests. The GRE Physics Subject Test is not an application requirement for Physics and Astronomy at University of Kentucky, but applicants are strongly recommended to take the Subject Test. The application deadline for admission in the fall semester is February 1. The department typically enrolls 10-15 new graduate students each year.

Nearly all admitted graduate students receive a full tuition scholarship, plus a stipend in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. Most new graduate students are offered a teaching assistantship, which typically requires teaching duties in either a classroom or laboratory setting at the undergraduate level. Students are encouraged to seek out a faculty member as a research adviser early in their graduate school careers, and many students are supported by research assistantships during the academic year and summer. Several fellowships (requiring no teaching duties) are also available to new graduate students on a competitive basis. All applicants are considered for these fellowships -- a separate application is not required.

Living and housing expenses in Lexington are quite affordable. On-campus university housing rates (including utilities) for graduate students range from $490 per month for an efficiency to $630 per month for a 2-bedroom university housing apartment. A large number of off-campus apartments are located near campus and offer very competitive rates. Student health insurance is provided to full-time graduate students.

Location & Contact

Department of Physics and Astronomy

College of Arts and Sciences
University of Kentucky

Lexington, KY 40506-0032
United States

Sumit Das


Phone: 859-257-4686
Fax: 859-323-2846

Dr. Brian Jackson

Senior Associate Dean

Phone: 859-257-4667
Fax: 859-257-4676

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Physics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 5
    • Doctoral Degrees 7
    • 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? Not reported
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


21% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 98
    • Accepted 21
    • Acceptance Rate 21
    • Enrolled 13
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $50
    • Application Fee - International $65
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline July 17th February 1st Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline December 13th June 15th Yes
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum graduate GPA of 3.0
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 550 paper based

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees
    • In-state tuition *Not Reported
    • Out-of-state tuition *Not Reported
    • International student tuitionNot Reported
    • *Typical tuition for this institution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Fees
    • Per-academic year feesNot Reported
    • Per-term feesNot Reported
    • One-time feeNot Reported
    • *Typical fees for this institution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 15
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Research Assitantships, Teaching Assistantships, Tuition Waivers, Federal Work-Study, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Health Care Benefits, Institutionally-sponsored Loans, Scholarship and/or loans, Traineeships, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students60
    • Female Percentage23%
    • Male Percentage77%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students60
    • Part-time Percentage5%
    • Full-time Percentage95%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino0%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian93%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian4%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown3%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty26
    • Full-time Percentage92%
    • Part-time Percentage8%
    • Female Percentage8%
    • Male Percentage92%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchAstrophysics, active galactic nuclei, and radio astronomy; Rydbert atoms, and electron scattering; TOF spectroscopy, hyperon interactions and muons; particle theory, lattice gauge theory, quark, and skyrmion models
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$3,062,000




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