Our graduate-level physics programs are challenging, rewarding, and will set you up
for a successful future. The University of Alaska Fairbanks neighbors and works alongside
the world-renowned Geophysical Institute which is a key player in our global mission
to better understand our atmosphere, planet, and beyond. Come study amongst the best!
UAF is home to the Geophysical Institute which was initially established in 1946 in order to understand how the aurora borealis affects military radar technology. Since then it has become a globally recognized research institution and is a major contributor of mapping, data, and satellite imagery. The GI is one of many institutions that rely heavily on recruiting graduates from our M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Our graduate programs are designed to provide you with exemplary education, research, and career opportunities.
Graduate work is offered in various areas of physics. Faculty and student research programs currently emphasize investigations of the following:
- Auroral, ionospheric, magnetospheric and space plasma physics
- The physics and chemistry of the upper and middle atmosphere
- Radio wave propagation and scattering
- Solar-terrestrial relation
- Remote sensing
- Snow, ice and permafrost
- Complex systems
- Solar physics
- Science Education
- Condensed matter physics
The Master of Science is a combination of approximately two years of coursework, plus a research project or thesis. In some cases, students pursuing a Ph.D. degree may obtain an M.Sc. as an intermediate qualification. We offer one M.Sc. degree which can be tailored to one of three concentrations as described below.
The UAF Physics Department offers two Ph.D. degrees – Physics and Space Physics. Our small class sizes offer students the opportunity to study and work closely with faculty, conducting research in their field of interest. Students may be accepted into the Ph.D. program following completion of either a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in Physics.
Show off your Research
Students will work with faculty mentors to present their research outcomes in various forms including oral and poster presentations at scientific meetings/workshops, and also as manuscripts submitted to refereed journals.
Students may prepare their Ph.D. dissertation as either an extended monograph describing their research or else as a compilation of three manuscripts accepted for publication.
There are two tracks offered for the research component of the M.Sc. degree. For students wishing to undertake a substantial research project, the thesis track is offered, in which the project represents a significant component of the student’s effort. A substantial thesis of typically 100 pages is required.
For students wishing to obtain an M.Sc. with a larger component of coursework, the project track allows for smaller research investigations that would typically be presented via an approximately 30-page project report.
Application Information, Requirements & Deadlines
Our graduate level physics programs are challenging, rewarding, and will set you up for a successful future. The University of Alaska Fairbanks neighbors and works alongside the world renowned Geophysical Institute which is a key player in our global mission to better understand our atmosphere, planet, and beyond. Come study amongst the best! Apply today!
Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Applications received after the March 1 deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Domestic students must meet the following requirements to be considered for a Physics graduate program. The Department of Physics is currently waiving the GRE requirement through Fall 2023.
- Undergraduate degree in Physics with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. If you do not meet this requirement, please contact us and explain why we should still consider your application.
- Complete graduate school application
- Application fee: $75
- Statement of Goals
- Unofficial or official transcripts
- Three letters of recommendation
- Upload necessary documents to the application portal
International students must meet the same requirements as domestic students along with the following additional documents:
- Official diploma(s)
- Citizenship documents such as your passport
- International Evaluation of Credits from WES, ECE or another NACES-approved service
- Proof of English proficiency
- TOEFL — minimum score of 79
- IELTS — minimum score of 6.5
- Duolingo only if TOEFL and IELTS are not available in your home country.
- Or proof of passing grade in a 100-level English or writing course. If your undergraduate degree was completed in the U.S. we will usually waive the need for an English proficiency test.
Assistantships and Funding
Research and teaching assistant positions are available to incoming and current graduate students. Most graduate students work as a teaching assistant (TA) for at least their first year in the program. After the first year, students are expected to be supported by a research assistantship which are usually funded from research grants held by individual faculty members. It is the student’s responsibility to seek out a faculty mentor with a research project that interests you.
Assistantships are paid a monetary stipend through the academic year, up to a 10-credit tuition waiver, and include basic health insurance. Graduate students are paid on a scale depending on their educational background. Additionally, teaching and research assistants cannot work more than 20 hours per week.
International students are restricted by their visa and can only work for the University while living here. Many international students RA or find alternative seasonal work on campus during the summer months. Both domestic and international students can work a 40-hour work week during the summer. There are no summer term teaching assistantship positions through the Department of Physics.
Many additional resources are available to support graduate students including:
- Assistance from the Graduate School
- Assistance from the Office of International Programs
- Faculty Mentors
- Graduate Student Associations
- Student Activity Center
- Student Health and Counseling Center
- Disability Services
- Military Veterans Office