Incoming students

Courses, credits and exams

Master's degree, exchange students, visiting students

Advancement to candidacy, research, Ph.D. defense


  • What are the admission requirements?
    • A bachelorís degree in physics or a closely related field from an accredited institution;
    • A minimum grade average of B in all undergraduate coursework, and at least B in each of the science and mathematics courses;
    • Submission of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (the Physics GRE subject test is also recommended);
    • Admission by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Graduate School.
    In special cases, a student not meeting the first two requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis. Upon admission, the student will be informed of the requirements that must be satisfied for termination of provisional status.
  • What should be sent with the application?
    Fill out the form online. Before filling out the online application, follow the link on the main WEB page, and read the "Application Instructions". We can access the application only if the fee is paid.
    • Three letters of recommendation can be either sent online or by regular mail from the recommender to the Department.
    • We need two copies of transcript. Your school should send them directly to the Department.
    • The general GRE test are required. The physics GRE is strongly recommended.
    • Scores from the TOEFL (or IELTS) are required from international students (see details below).
    Our institution code for electronic submission of TOEFL and GRE sores is 2548. Our address is
    Admissions, Department of Physics and Astronomy 
    Stony Brook University
    Stony Brook
    NY 11794-3800, USA
  • Can I apply so that I start in the Spring Semester?
    Yes, but admission for the Spring Semester is very limited. It is practically impossible to get financial support (a teaching assistant position) for Spring admission. Please contact the department before bothering to apply.
  • How long does it take to get a Ph.D.?
    The absolute shortest time is a little bit more that one year, since students must advance to candidacy at least one year before the beginning of the semester in which they plan to defend their dissertation. In reality, 3 years is considered very short. Five years is typical. Seven years is a time limit set by the Graduate School. It is possible to apply for an extension, if the student is in the advanced stage of preparing a thesis, or if there was an unforeseen circumstance causing delays. The two figures on the right show how does our student population change over time. On the first figure you can see the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded each year for the past 25 years. The other figure shows the number of students entering into the Ph.D. program, and the number of students still in the department as of April, 2005.  
  • What is the deadline for submitting applications?
    We have three deadlines: January 15, February 1 and June 1. Applications received before January 15 will be considered for Graduate Coun