PhD Program

The Research You do Here Could Impact Your Future – and the World’s

As a PhD candidate in the Physics program at WPI, you’ll find yourself in strategically sized classes and research groups where you’ll receive individualized attention from faculty members who are internationally recognized for their outstanding research endeavors. You’ll be challenged to explore new ways of thinking, and encouraged to take part in groundbreaking discoveries.

You’ll have the option of choosing a research specialization from the areas in which our principal investigators are engaged, including fiber optics, biophysics, order-disorder phenomena, quantum computers, and many others. Or you may suggest your own area of original research through our Independent Study/Project. The choice is yours.

How to apply:

We strongly suggest that, prior to applying to the WPI Department of Physics, you review the research areas of our faculty to identify potential research advisors. Information on the department faculty can be found here. To learn more about a faculty’s research, please contact them directly.

The following materials are required when applying for the Ph.D. program in Physics:

1.    Completed online application form.
2.    Official transcripts from all post-secondary colleges or universities that you’ve attended
3.    Your application fee (waived for current WPI undergraduates and alumni)
4.    Graduate Record Exam (GRE) - WPI's Institution Code is 3969
5.    Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Subject test
6.    Three letters of recommendation
7.    Official TOEFL/IELTS Academic results for International students who come from countries
       where English is not their first language. The minimum scores for admission are:

         a.  TOEFL: 223 (computer based test)
              563 (paper-based test)
              84 (internet-based test)

         b.  IELTS: 7.0 overall band score with no sub-score lower than 6.5

         c.  Higher scores are required for Teaching Assistants (TAs).

         d.  Scores are valid for two years from the test date.

         e.  Aplicants who have completed two years of full-time study in a college or university 
              in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or the Anglophone regions
              of Africa, Canada, or the Caribbean, within five years of matriculating at WPI are not
              required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores

 8.    A Statement of Purpose describing why you wish to obtain a graduate degree in physics at
        WPI and your research interests.

For the standardized tests, WPI’s Institution Code is 3969. If you are seeking TA funding for the fall semester, your application must be submitted no later than January 1st of that year.

To begin the application, please visit click here. You will be required to create a username and password. For questions on the application process, please send an email to:

Financial Support

For PhD candidates, we offer financial support in the forms of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships.

  • Teaching Assistantships: A nine-month appointment at approximately $18,000.
  • Research Assistantships: Generally an 11-to-12 month appointment at $20,000 - $22,000 with the principal investigator.
  • Fellowships: A wide variety of individually applied fellowships are available.

WPI is among an exclusive group of leading research universities selected to participate in the National Science Foundation¹s (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) ­ NSF¹s flagship interdisciplinary program for PhD scientists and engineers.

IGERT fellows at WPI will pursue a degree in a participating doctorate program, while joining an interdisciplinary cohort of WPI graduate students working on a range of research projects in the area of biofabrication. Learn more about IGERT at WPI.

Degree Requirements

The PhD degree requires 90 credit hours, including 42 in approved courses or directed study (which must include PH 511, PH 514-515, PH 522 and PH 533, or their equivalents), 30 of dissertation research, and completion and defense of a PhD thesis. Learn more… 


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WPI-Clark University Consortium

To improve the course offerings and opportunities for graduate students, the Physics departments at WPI and Clark University share graduate courses.