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Thinking of joining our program?
We'd love to see you here.

Ayres Hall at sunset
A little bit about us

The University of Tennessee enjoys a vibrant and diverse physics program driven by an engaged faculty eager to develop the next generation of scientists.

» We're actively pushing the research frontier of quantum materials by joint efforts in synthesis, computation, and a broad array of experimental probes through the IAMM Quantum Center.
» We played a key role in winning an NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (CAMM) to discover, design, and develop materials that will transform science and industry.
» Our physicists put our state on the periodic table with Tennessine.
» We explore multi-messenger astronomy and explosive stellar events, having secured a $3.25M grant to build a hub for these studies.
» We search for new physics at CERN and describe the properties of nuclei, neutrons, and neutrinos.
» We investigate the origins and possibilities of superconductivity and other condensed matter phenomena with new models and novel materials.
» With lab-on-a-chip devices and pattern formation, we merge physics and biology at the cellular level.
» We're building an interdisciplinary approach to lead transformative research on quantum materials and devices, information science, and artificial intelligence—including a $3M project using AI to model collective phenomena in quantum materials and another project to build a quantum internet testbed.

Our research areas & faculty

Himal Acharya

Working with our high energy physics group at the Large Hadron Collider, Himal Acharya reconstructed and selected different decays from proton-proton collisions.

Hasitha Suriya Arachchige

Hasitha Suriya Arachchige researches magnetic materials with support from a prestigious Shull Wollan Center Graduate Research Fellowship.


Chenyi Gu

Chenyi Gu's research is quantum-classical hybrid algorithms to advance the computation of atomic nuclei and is supported by the Quantum Science Center through Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Casey Morean

Casey Morean won a US Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Award to support his studies on nucleons at Jefferson Lab. UT Physics Graduate students won three of these honors in 2020 and have won nine since 2019.

Chloe Sandoval

Chloe Sandoval served as a Graduate Student Senator and was honored for her outstanding contributions in the campus leadership role.

Xin Wen

Xin Wen was lead author on a PRL that explained a new, scalable technique for measuring how turbulence behaves over space and time.

Graduate students play a crucial role in our research program. They work on campus (including at the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing), at nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, or places like Jefferson Lab, CERN, and Fermilab.

Degree options

Where do our graduates go?

Great Smoky Mountains
What's life like in Knoxville?

The University’s campus is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, with easy access to miles of inland waterways, pristine state and national parks (the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 800 miles of maintained hiking trails and beautiful scenery), diverse cultural opportunities, and a blend of convenient urban and rural living settings. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness includes 50 miles of trails and greenways with a nature center, pristine lakes, historic sites, dramatic quarries, adventure playgrounds, five city parks, and a 500-acre wildlife area.

Downtown Knoxville, adjacent to campus, is a thriving neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, and indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, and is home to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Knoxville Opera Company, annual international festivals, such as the Big Ears Music Festival, and seasonal and weekly events such as Jazz on the Square, Shakespeare on the Square, and the Farmers Market.

Some basics about applying to our program
Admissions & financial aid
Factors in evaluating applications
  • Academic success
  • Research statement and experience
  • Work/life experiences (leadership, work through challenging problems, maturity)
  • Interview with 2+ faculty members
  • Anticipated interests in our department, if any
  • Reference letters (3)

*Graduate School requirements supersede departmental requirements

The department cannot evaluate an incomplete application package. It is the responsibility of the student to check their application status.

  • November 10: Deadline for requesting a fee waiver. Please note that requests for fee waivers are separate from the application process and receipt of a fee waiver is not a guarantee of admission. Request a fee waiver using this form. (Late fee waiver applications may be considered at the discretion of the admissions chair.)
  • December 15: For full consideration, apply by this date. (Late applications may be reviewed at the discretion of the admissions chair, though international students cannot be processed after February 1.)
  • Mid-March: Notification of acceptance.
  • April 15: Deadline for decisions from admitted students.

Questions? See our FAQ page, and please don't hesitate to contact us.

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