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Graduate Study

The first Ph.D. in physics from Rice was awarded in 1920, as the second doctorate earned at the university. Since then, the Physics and Astronomy graduate program has grown to an enrollment of about 110, with 15 to 20 students arriving each year. Recent graduates hold positions in academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial laboratories, and entrepreneurial enterprises.

The department now offers graduate programs for a wide range of interests. Research facilities and thesis supervision are available for Ph.D. students in astronomy and astrophysics, atomic, molecular and optical physics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, nuclear and particle physics, and space plasma and solar physics. 

The department maintains an active colloquium program, bringing men and women to Rice from university, industrial and government laboratories to describe their research. In addition, research groups often conduct specialized seminars. Each year the department invites a prominent physicist to visit Rice for several days to deliver the Houston Memorial Lecture in honor of Professor William V. Houston, former member of the department and President of Rice University from 1946-60. In 1995 a new lecture series was inaugurated in the memory of Professor H. E. Rorschach, a former member and chair of the department.

We encourage current students and applicants to also apply for graduate fellowships from various external agencies, which can increase the resources available to you during your graduate studies and help you in various ways throughout your career. Links to some opportunities are http://ofur.rice.edu/feed/fellowships/database.aspx and http://diversity.rice.edu/grad_r_and_r.html.

Resources describing the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy are found in links to the right, especially the Graduate Student Handbook. If you cannot find the answers to your questions here, please do not hesitate to contact the graduate program coordinator, Ms. Rosa Almendarez, the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee (Prof. Thomas Killian), or the Associate Chair of the department (Prof. Stan Dodds). For current students, faculty are specifically assigned as graduate student advisors to answer academic questions.  The department ombudsman is Prof. David Alexander.

Note to International Applicants:  Individual requests for application status cannot be answered.  As support materials are received, they are matched with the respective on-line application.  

  • Graduate Brochure
  • Graduate Student Handbook
  • Degree Programs
  • Goals and Assessments
  • Admission
  • Graduate Application Checklist
  • Scholarships and Research Assistantships
  • Housing
  • Campus Virtual Tour
  • Rice and the Houston Area
  • Awards in Physics and Astronomy
  • Recent Theses

  • Other Links:

  • Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
  • Physics & Astronomy Graduate Student Association (PAGSA)
  • Rice Graduate Student Association (GSA)
  • Graduate Student Career Services
  • Physics Today Jobs
  • American Physical Society (APS)
  • American Astrophysical Society (AAS)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Institute of Physics (AIP) Statistical Research Center