For more information, please contact the Physics PhD Graduate Coordinator
The mission of the Physics PhD program is to train the next generation of research physicists in academia, industry, and government. Graduates of the program will have learned to carry out independent and innovative scientific research in physics and astronomy.
Our faculty members are dynamic, well-known in their fields, highly productive in research, and student-oriented. Students within our program will have the opportunities to research in many cutting-edge fields in applied physics, astrophysics, atomic physics, atmospheric and ionospheric physics, biological physics (including neuroscience and biomedical physics), condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, materials science, nonlinear dynamics, nuclear physics, planetary science, and space weather & plasma astrophysics.
What are some questions investigated by GMU faculty and students in their research?
- How can we find evidence for ancient or recent Martian life?
- Can we find a cure for epilepsy by understanding how networks of neurons interact?
- Can better atomic models lead to developing new materials with surprising properties?
- How do solar disturbances travel through the solar system?
- What role does dust play in star formation and the nature of a galaxy’s magnetic field?
- Are the fundamental laws of physics symmetric with respect to space, time, and matter?
- What causes the ice ages?
- How can ultra-cold atoms be used to discover new quantum states of matter?
- What are the astrophysical sources of extremely high energy gamma rays?
- What role do massive black holes play in the evolution of galaxies?
- Can we demonstrate a way to build practical quantum computers?
- Can we push low-field magnetic resonance to the limit to better detect hidden explosives?
Why pursue an PhD in physics at Mason?
- There are great opportunities to do cutting-edge research with more than 40 physicists and astronomers in applied physics, astrophysics, atomic physics, atmospheric and ionospheric physics, biological physics (including neuroscience and biomedical physics), condensed matter physics, elementary particle physics, materials science, nonlinear dynamics, nuclear physics, planetary science, and space weather & plasma astrophysics.
- We offer graduate teaching and research assistantships for qualified students.
- All graduate courses are offered at times convenient for working professionals.
- Employment opportunities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for physicists are especially good, and our MS and PhD graduates have had success in finding jobs.
- Northern Virginia is a national center for high-technology industry and federal science laboratories, with many paid internship opportunities. Current faculty have active collaborations with several of these surrounding major government facilities, including NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.