The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Graduate Program

Graduate Program in Physics


Fall 2016 GTA Orientation Information

[Research Opportunities & Financial Support] [Degree Programs] [Apply to Our Program] [About Knoxville] [A Glimpse of our Grads & Career Resources]
[Contact Information] [Graduate Physics Society] [Graduate Handbook for 2016-2017]

World-Class Opportunities

A graduate program in physics takes students beyond the basics of electricity, magnetism, and mechanics. The graduate program in physics at the University of Tennessee couples a strong academic foundation built on those principles with research opportunities at some of the best facilities in the world. Our faculty comprises Distinguished Scientists and Joint Faculty Professors with programs both on-campus and at nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Many others are integral players in engaging international research collaborations (detecting neutrinos at KamLAND and making contributions to the Large Hadron Collider). Want to study fundamental neutron physics? You can do that at ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source (the most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source in the world; only about a 30-minute drive from campus). Interested in theoretical and computational astrophysics? The UT-ORNL group has allocations on four of the top 10 supercomputers in the world. Intrigued by the properties of the nucleus? Our faculty includes two of the Department of Energy's Outstanding Junior Investigators in Nuclear Physics (2007 and 2009). If condensed matter is your field of choice, you can help characterize a new class of superconductors discovered in 2008 or investigate the possibilities of hydrogen storage for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Joint institutes in advanced materials, neutron sciences, and heavy ion research are all avenues by which the university and the national laboratory leverage their collective expertise to study scientific possibilities. This is only a handful of examples of how UT's physics faculty members have built and continue to expand top-caliber programs in both theory and experiment.

CMP research image Research Opportunities and Financial Support

Graduate students at Tennessee have access to some of the best expertise and facilities in the world, with research opportunities that offer valuable experience. They work on campus, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (including the Spallation Neutron Source), and at international centers including the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Their efforts have resulted in numerous Chancellor's Honors from the university, and have also won prestigious honors including selection to the Nobel Prize Winners meeting in Lindau and summer programs at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. Our graduate students have won the Nottingham Prize, a DOE national Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship, and the GMAG Student Dissertation Award. They co-author papers in prestigious journals, including Nature.

The physics department offers teaching and research assistantships to graduate students, as well as Stelson Fellowships for outstanding applicants and select fellowships in condensed matter and chemical physics (see our page on financial support.) The university also offers a number of graduate fellowships.

Ayres Hall Degree Programs

Academic requirements give students several options to earn advanced degrees in physics. The master's degree program offers thesis, project, and non-thesis options. The doctoral program allows students to specialize in the field of their choice, working at facilities on-campus, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, or at other research facilities used by physics faculty.

Apply to Our Program

How to Apply

Prospective graduate students must apply directly to the University of Tennessee Office of Graduate Admissions for both admission and financial assistance. All departmental requirements are included in this application. Please note that the department cannot formally make an offer until an application for admission has been received and accepted by the University Office of Graduate Admissions.

Knoxville map icon About Knoxville

Knoxville is located in the Tennessee Valley at the threshold of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Situated among several greenways, lakes, and state parks, the city and surrounding area offer all kinds of outdoor activities. Market Square downtown is close to UT and a great hub for dining, shopping, and finding great music. Knoxville is home to the Big Ears Festival and other concert series (e.g., Tennessee Shines), along with museums, theaters, and downtown festivals (including the Rossini Festival and the International Biscuit Festival). The university has compiled a list of information about the city, and each year Metro Pulse puts together a "Best of Knoxville" guide.

Grads image A Glimpse of Our Grads

Miaoyin Wang, Ph.D., 2013
Staff Engineer, Western Digital

Austin Chertkow, Ph.D., 2012

Jesse Labello, Ph.D., 2011
Space Systems Analyst at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Tullahoma, TN

Laurene Tetard, Ph.D., 2010
Assistant Professor, Nanoscience Technology Center, University of Central Florida Physics Department

Ryan Kapler, M.S., 2009
Junior Radiological Engineer at Wastren Advantange Inc.

Michelle Neeley, M.S. 2009
Physicist at Medical Center Hospital, Saint Augustine, Florida

Songxue Chi, Ph.D., 2008
Center for Neutron Research, National Institute of Science and Technology

Dragoslav Grbovic, Ph.D. 2008
Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA

Nasrin Mirsaleh-Kohan, Ph.D. 2008
Faculty, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas Woman's University

Career Resources for Physicists

Questions about the graduate program? Contact the department:

Professor Marianne Breinig
Director of Graduate Program
Department of Physics and Astronomy
401 Nielsen Physics Building
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-3342


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