Application Process 


Test Scores

Program Statistics 


Application Process


When is the application deadline?

The application opens in the early fall. 

The deadline to apply for the Ph.D. program is December 15

The Sc.M. program has an application deadline of February 1.


How do I apply?   

The Graduate School provides comprehensive information on all aspects of the application components and process here.

Information for prospective graduate students in Physics can be found here.

Both pages link directly to the online application.


If my application is missing materials, will it receive full consideration?

Yes, all submitted applications receive full consideration.  The admissions committee can best assess a complete application.  When an application is electronically submitted, all materials provided by the student (including self-reported scores) should be included.  It is not possible for the student or the Physics department to edit an application once submitted.  Materials submitted by others (e.g., letters of recommendation, official transcripts) will be accepted by the application after the deadline date through invitation (letters of recommendation) or if sent by the institution or TOEFL.  If it is necessary to add additional information to an application, a student should contact the Graduate School.  Letters of recommendation and/or official scores sent after the application deadline will not impact the consideration of an application.  Be assured if the admission committee needs further information from you, you will be contacted.  


Should I have an official copy of my transcript(s) sent to Brown?

Applicants are encouraged to upload a scanned image of the transcript at the time of application. An official final transcript will be required of all admitted students who matriculate.


Must I possess a bachelor’s degree in physics in order to apply for your graduate programs?

No, a bachelor’s degree in physics is not required.  Applicants are expected to have a strong background in physics.


If I send my materials ahead of time, can someone assess my chances of admission or evaluate how I measure up to your standards for admission?

No. Admission to our programs depends on many factors. We cannot assess your chances of admission prior to reviewing your entire application.


How are admission decisions made?

The Admission Committee reviews all aspects of your application, including your personal statement, recommendation letters, grades, research experience, related original publications, etc.  There is no precise formula followed to make an admission decision, but a strong showing in the above components is likely to increase your chances of admission. 


Can I schedule a visit?

We are always happy to host prospective students.  Please submit a Physics Graduate Admissions Inquiry Form here.  



What is the application fee?

A $75 application fee must be paid when an application is submitted.  Applicants who want to be evaluated by more than one graduate program must submit and pay the fee for separate applications to each program. 


Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

Applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for fee waivers. Detailed information about fee waivers may be found here and here. (Please note that your completed application must be submitted 14 days before the program’s application deadline to be considered for a fee waiver. Please choose the “Request a fee waiver” option as your method of payment on the payment information page.)

Application fee waivers are not available for international applicants. In exceptional cases, the department may offer a fee waiver to international students, but this is really done for students with exceptional circumstances and a very well-established academic record.  If you think this may be applicable to your case, you should contact [email protected] before Dec. 1.


Do I need to complete a financial aid application?

Admission to our Ph.D. program includes at least five years of guaranteed funding, including stipend, tuition, health services fee, and health insurance, for students who maintain good standing in the program.

Because we do not provide funding for students in the Master’s program, ScM program applicants may want to apply for financial aid.

Information on financial aid for domestic students can be found here. Information for international students can be found here.


Test Scores

Are GREs required?

Submitting General and Physics GRE scores is recommended (but not required), especially for non-traditional students (this includes applicants with a bachelor's degree outside of physics, or applicants who have taken a long gap after completing their bachelor's degree).


I've had my scores sent - why does my application still say 'incomplete'?

English proficiency scores do not automatically find their way to an application.  They are sent in batches to the university and must then be matched by the Graduate School to each application.  As there are many applications requiring attention, this process takes time.  Be assured that all applications submitted receive full consideration regardless of the status of the application.  


Are English language tests required for international students?

The Graduate School requires all international applicants whose native language is not English to submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score.  The admissions committee can consider an application with self-reported scores or if a student qualifies for a waiver.  

Waivers can be granted to students who have earned a degree from a non-U.S. university where the primary language of instruction is English, from a college or university in the United States, or in any number of countries. The application system does not automatically provide these waivers based on the education listed on an application, a waiver must be requested from the Graduate school.  Without a waiver granted, the application's status will list as 'incomplete.'  All submitted applications receive full consideration regardless of status.  We require a waiver or official English proficiency score for all admitted students.  

More information can be found here.


What is the TOEFL or IELTS minimum score for admission?

The recommended minimum TOEFL score for admission consideration is 90 for the internet-based test (577 on the paper-based test).

For IELTS, the recommended minimum overall band score is 7.


Are photocopies of TOEFL scores acceptable?

Brown University requires official scores to be sent.

You may self-report your TOEFL scores and upload copies of your score report(s) into your application. However, you must also have your official scores sent to the Graduate School.


What is the Physics code for TOEFL reporting?



What is the Brown University code for ETS reporting?



Program Statistics


How many students enroll each year in your Ph.D. program?

Over recent years, the incoming Ph.D. class has averaged about 16 students per year. Our program's target and actual enrollment vary each year based on a number of factors.  


How many international students do you admit?

Each year, the number of international students who are admitted to and who choose to enroll in our Ph.D. program varies widely depending on the applicant pool.  We are strongly committed to maintaining a fair and equitable admission process and to cultivating diversity in our student body.