Application Process 


Test Scores

Program Statistics 



Application Process


When is the application deadline?

The application opens in early fall. 

The deadline to apply for the PhD program is January 2, 2018

The ScM program has rolling admissions with an academic year deadline of May 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 asses 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 recommendations,  official scores) will be accepted by the application after the deadline date through invitation (letters of recommendation), or if sent by GRE, 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 personal statement, recommendation letters, grades, GRE subject and general scores, research experience and 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 in advance of the program’s application deadline in order 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 Mary Ellen Woycik before Dec. 1.


Do I need to complete a financial aid application?

Admission to our PhD 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 GRE’s required?

For the PhD program, the GRE general test is required and the GRE subject test is highly recommended.  Please note that although the subject test is not required, the absence of a subject score makes determining the quality of your application more challenging.  Nevertheless, it is possible that other portions of your application, i.e., general GRE scores, grades, letters of recommendation, can provide a consistent and reasonably whole picture of your aptitude for graduate study.

For the ScM program, both GRE general and subject tests are recommended, not required.


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

GRE and 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, all applications submitted receive full consideration regardless of the status of the application.  


What are the minimum GRE scores for admission?

We do not have minimum GRE scores. 


What are the average test scores of those admitted?

We do not track and share average GRE or TOEFL scores. 


Are English language tests for international students required?

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, or from a college or university in the United States, or in any of a 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.   A waiver or official English proficiency score will be required 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 GRE and TOEFL scores acceptable?

Brown University requires official test scores sent by ETS.

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


What is the Physics code for GRE reporting?



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 PhD program?

Over recent years, the incoming PhD class has averaged about 16 students per year. The target and actual enrollment for our program varies 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 PhD 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.