scientists in cleanroom

Students in the clean room of the microfluidics fabrication facility. Photo: Mike Lovett

Graduate Studies

The Martin A. Fisher School of Physics at Brandeis University has an international reputation for excellence in research; it is among the highest ranked in the United States on the basis of publication citations.  The department was recently awarded a major grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.  Graduate students in the department are engaged in a wide variety of research programs, ranging from biophysics to particle physics, from microfluidics to radio astronomy to string theory.  After obtaining their PhDs, our students go on to postdocs at top research labs, as well as to employment in industry and the public sector."

Graduate study at Brandeis is characterized by a low student-to-faculty ratio. Brandeis currently has 19 faculty members and 43 doctoral students in the Department of Physics. Students enjoy ample opportunity for personal interaction with instructors in the classroom and laboratory and with advisers to guide their doctoral research. There are also many postdoctoral research associates collaborating with the faculty and graduate students, thus providing further occasions for connections between graduate students and physicists active in research. 

The Boston area is also one of the world's major centers of research in physics. During the academic year, there are several colloquia and specialized seminars daily at area universities, including Boston University, Harvard University, MIT, Northeastern University and Tufts University. All these schools are within 30 minutes of the Brandeis campus.

The department believes that the undergraduate experience rarely provides incoming graduate students with a firm idea of the best field to choose for their doctoral dissertation research. We have therefore built into the graduate program the maximum flexibility and opportunity to make a well-informed choice of research field.

At the same time, we also minimize the time required for students to get immersed in their fields once the choice has been made. Our schedule of courses and the qualifying exam process have been tailored not only for these purposes but to add to the richness of a good understanding of physics in general.

Students offered admission to the Ph.D. program will be offered full financial support (100 percent tuition scholarship and fellowship). This award is based on academic merit, not on need. Stipends are $24,480 per year for students beginning in fall 2013. After 2 years,  students change from teaching assistants to research assistants and stipends increase to $27,950.

Numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary studies are available to graduate students. Students can decide to enroll in newly established program in Quantitative Biology supported by the NIH.  Upon completing this program students receive a Ph.D in physics  “with an additional specialization in Quantitative Biology”. Furthermore, entering graduate students who are US citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply for admission to a competitive NSF IGERT program "Geometry and Dynamics".  This is a program oriented towards theorists, whose goal is to train a group of young scientists to apply a set of common mathematical concepts and techniques to problems across mathematics and  natural and social sciences, from string theory to neuroscience to economics.  The students will be typically supported by the IGERT in their second and third year, with a stipend of  $30 k/year.

More information on graduate student life at Brandeis can be found on the Graduate Student Affairs page. Information on the application process is collected on this page.