Prospective Graduate Students


We take pride in our long tradition of fostering a collegial, collaborative, and supportive academic environment, with departmental faculty, staff, and administration strongly committed to excellence in graduate education and research.

With more than 20 full-time faculty members, approximately 50 graduate students, and approximately 60 undergraduate physics majors, each student in the department receives the sort of individual attention that is usually only available at much smaller universities. Meanwhile, the department maintains a variety of vibrant research groups, currently clustered in four major areas: 1) plasma physics including magnetic fusion and dusty plasmas, 2) condensed matter physics with an emphasis on semiconductors, novel low-dimensional materials and electronic devices, 3) Atomic/Molecular/Optics (AMO) physics on properties of atoms, molecules, and ions, and their interactions with ultra-fast lasers, and 4) space physics exploring the Earth’s magnetosphere. In recent years, the department has added millions of dollars in state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and computational facilities. As a graduate student, you will have an opportunity to choose among a wide range of research projects to pursue your graduate degree, and you will be able to collaborate with teams of fellow graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty members, both on campus and across the globe.

This is an exciting time for our department. A new addition to the Leach Science Center, now under construction, will house our departmental offices, teaching laboratories, and additional experimental research space. Our AMO group has recently finished construction of an attosecond laser facility, and the Condensed Matter group is finishing the installation of a state-of-the-art molecular beam epitaxy system. Our Plasma group operates the Magnetized Dusty Plasma and Compact Toroidal Hybrid experiments at Auburn, and collaborates on the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Germany and the DIII-D tokamak in San Diego. Our Space physics group is continuing development of magnetospheric and satellite observation modeling codes to deepen our understanding of our solar system environment.

The Graduate School Bulletin describes the rules that applied to all graduate students at Auburn University. Within these pages you will also find the requirements that distinguish the graduate programs in physics and a guideline of a normal path toward a Master of Science (M.S) degree and/or a Doctoral of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the Department of Physics.  To serve our graduate students with diverse academic and personal backgrounds, exceptions to nearly all of these guidelines are possible. All the requests for exceptions should be made directly to the Department Chair, who will consult with the Graduate Committee and individual faculty members as needed. It is also important to emphasize that such exception requests are approved only in rare cases.

The physics department welcomes visits by prospective graduate students. Arrangements can be made for lab tours and visits with faculty and often part of the travel costs can be supplied by the physics department. To visit the physics department or request further information about graduate studies, please contact our Graduate Program Officer Prof. David Maurer.