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UAH's Department of Physics & Astronomy seeks outstanding students to train, mentor, and assist in reaching their full potential as scientists and future leaders in science and society. Graduates have enjoyed exciting and fulfilling careers in academia and industry, including both government and the private sector. 

The deadline for fall 2024 admission and consideration for a teaching or research assistantship is 19 January 2024.

  • Admission should ideally be for a fall term, since the core course sequence begins then. Admission for the spring and summer term is possible, but consult with the department chair to see if this is the best option.
  • The application deadline to be considered for a teaching or research assistantship in the department is 19 January 2024. Your graduate school application must be completed by then. 
  • Applications recieved after 19 January 2024 will be accepted but will not receive highest priority for assistantship consideration.
  • Assistantship consideration is automatic. You do not need to submit any further information.

Physics, MS - Thesis or Non-Thesis Options  

This degree denotes a much deeper understanding of the major areas of Physics, as well as one or more subspecialties such as astrophysics or optics.

The time required can be as short as 1.5 years for the course-based option.

The typical completion time for the thesis option is about 2 years. Within the thesis option, we offer the Optics and Photonics Curriculum, which is ideal for presently-employed students needing more advanced study in these areas.

Physics, MS - Optics & Photonics Technology 

The OPT (PH) program is suggested for students coming from a physics background or students wishing to earn additional physics hours while completing the optics courses.

The curriculum has been designed such that little or no prior graduate work in physics is required. The OPT degree program does not prepare the student for taking the Physics Comprehensive Exam or the OSE Preliminary Exam for entrance into either Ph.D. program.

Physics, PhD

This is the terminal degree in physics and indicates a fundamental understanding of physics and the ability to perform original research and advance the state of knowledge in a particular field.

Optical Science & Engineering, PhD

This unique program is multi-disciplinary and begins with a core of basic optics, followed by a wide variety of advanced course work and research in both fundamental and applied subjects. The program spans great diversity as it moves from the fundamental physics of light and its interaction with matter to the design and development of new optical systems for a wide variety of applications such as optical computing & communications, and space-based telescopes.

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Applicants are strongly advised to explore our areas of research prior to applying. If you have an idea of the area you want to study but cannot find a match with our academics please contact the Department Chair.



Dr. Patrick Champey

optical physicist, nasa marshall space flight center

PhD Optical Science & Engineering,  Computer Science, 2022