Graduate Student Matters
Graduate Program Introduction
in physics at Princeton is based on the premise that the
Ph.D. is a research degree. The
program has two main goals: the development of a broad background in basic
physics, and, through the
completion of a thesis, the expansion of research abilities in a more
The success of the program
can be judged by the large number of first-rate theses that our students have
written. Our students are prepared for
careers in research and teaching at the university level or research in
industrial and government laboratories. The
skills acquired or extended through intensive graduate work in physics -
quantitative reasoning, advanced
computational methods, equipment and electronics design, and many others -
are also applicable to many other fields.
The Physics Department maintains an active research program
with equal emphasis on theoretical and
Besides our traditional strengths in theoretical
and experimental elementary particle
physics, theoretical and experimental gravity and cosmology, experimental
nuclear and atomic physics,
mathematical physics, and theoretical condensed matter physics,
we have newer strong and growing groups in
experimental condensed matter physics and biophysics.
We attempt to integrate graduate students into the research
program as soon as possible. First-year students are supported by
university fellowships. In the following years, most students are
supported either as assistants in research or as assistants in instruction,
while a few are recipients of NSF or other fellowships. Whatever
their source of support is, all students are strongly encouraged to
get involved with research and to participate in the activities of
the research groups. The duration of the Graduate Program is 5 years, and some students
complete the PhD even in a shorter period.
The ratio of faculty to graduate
students is about one to two, so there is ample
opportunity for contact between faculty and students. Because of this,
our Ph.Ds leave exceedingly well prepared
for research. In addition to participating in research, colloquia, and the many
seminars within the department, the
faculty and students often benefit from interactions with
Princeton physicists have
collaborated fruitfully with the departments of
molecular biology, as well as with the
Institute for Advanced Study, the
Princeton Materials Institute (PMI), Lewis-Sigler Institute
for Integrative Genomics, and
nearby industrial laboratories. We strongly support cross-disciplinary
research, and graduate students may pursue
their interests in physics by writing theses supervised by
researchers in these departments and laboratories.
University housing is available for graduate students, with first-year
students getting priority. It is common for
students to live in University housing for a year
or more before moving into privately-owned apartments in town.
Princeton is a very pleasant place to live.
The center of town, across
Nassau Street from the campus, contains a
growing number of restaurants, ice cream parlors, coffee houses, and pubs,
all within easy walking distance.
The University and town also provide an impressive schedule of concerts and
dance performances, an award-winning
theater company, and lectures of a wide variety.
New York City and
Philadelphia are each only an hour away; a
connecting train stops a short walk from the physics building.