A graduate student and a physics professor looking at a computer


Graduate students explore physics through small, lab-based classes and unique research and mentoring opportunities. Our master’s and doctoral students have collaborated with labs in Germany and Switzerland, presented at conferences around the world and won awards for their efforts at GW Research Days

After graduation, many students pursue doctoral and postdoctoral programs at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, while others secure lucrative research positions as analysts and data scientists at companies like Facebook and IBM. 

The MS and PhD programs in physics are U.S. Department of Homeland Security STEM-designated degree programs.





Funding Opportunities

The Department of Physics and the wider university provide the financial help you need to make your graduate school experience as successful as it can be.

The university's most prestigious graduate awards, Presidential Merit Fellowships are given to qualified students with very high GPAs and GRE scores on a university-wide competitive basis. The Physics Department requires prospective candidates to have research interests matching existing strong areas of research within the department. The fellowships are awarded for three years, subject to continued satisfactory performance. No teaching is required, and early participation in the department's research activities is expected.

Funding: $26,000 over nine months, plus tuition

This fellowship is awarded by the Physics Department for a three-year period. Fellows will have high GPAs and GRE scores. This award involves no teaching duties, and early involvement in research is strongly encouraged. Contact the Physics Department for more information.

Funding: $23,000 over nine months, plus tuition

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) are awarded to qualified PhD students by the Physics Department for a maximum of four years. Normally, teaching requirements are three undergraduate laboratory/recitation sections and/or grading of undergraduate homework assignments in large-capacity courses. Students generally hold GTAs for the first two or three years of their graduate study. Prospective PhD students may apply for GTA positions as part of the application form.

Funding: $20,000–$23,000 over nine months, plus tuition

Research assistantships are funded by external research grants, awards to physics faculty from federal agencies and other organizations. Usually, research assistantships are reserved for advanced graduate students who have passed the PhD qualifying examinations and have begun their thesis research.

Funding: $20,000–$24,000 over 12 months; may include tuition

The intention of the short-term summer research awards is to give students the opportunity to work with a particular group within the Physics Department and become acquainted with research in a hands-on way. Students usually apply to complete these positions in the first and second summer during the course of their studies. Contact the Physics Department for more information.

Funding: $4,500–$7,000 over three months


Resources & Aid