Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to many questions about the application process in general can be found on the Office  of Graduate  & Professional Studies website.

1) What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for application submission is May 1 for fall admission. However, the number of graduate positions is limited, and the Graduate Admissions Committee starts making offers before the middle of February. Furthermore, foreign students are expected to take part in the ITA (International Teaching Assistant) program starting mid-July, and depending on the student’s country of origin, the visa application process may take some time. For consideration for financial support, students are encouraged to apply before the January 31st deadline.

2) Could the University of Delaware waive my application fee?
No, the University will not waive its application fee, except for designated minority candidates. However, the Graduate Admissions Committee can review an incomplete application. If you meet the enrollment requirements, you will be asked to pay the application fee to complete the application. We cannot  officially admit applicants until the fee is paid.

3) Will my application be considered if the official GRE and/or TOEFL scores have not been received by the Office of Graduate Studies?
Yes, but please have the testing agencies send the official scores to the Office of Graduate Studies as soon as possible. You may email scanned copies of the scores to the Office of Graduate Studies. These will be considered "student supplied" scores. However, the official score reports should be received on or before the application deadline.

4) What is the University of Delaware’s Institution Code for the GRE and TOEFL tests?
The Institution Code is R5811.

5) Should I send my application materials to the Department of Physics and Astronomy?
No, all materials should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies, 234 Hullihen Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716-1501. Mailing documents to the Department of Physics and Astronomy only slows down the processing of your application. Any documents sent to our office are sent unopened to the Office of Graduate Studies. The documents are then scanned into a database where our department office staff and the Graduate Admissions Committee can review them.

6) I was not admitted to your graduate program when I applied last year. I submitted my application materials at that time. What is the process for applying to the Department of Physics and Astronomy graduate program given these circumstances?
You will need to submit a new online application, pay another  application fee, submit your official GRE and TOEFL scores, send an official final transcript, and update your resume. Since your letters of recommendation are a year old, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to provide new ones. All of these materials should be sent to the Office of Graduate Studies.

7) Are applicants admitted for the spring semester?
The Department of Physics and Astronomy usually does not offer spring term admission since we do not have any additional Teaching Assistant support funding for the spring semester. If you do not need TA support or you can find a faculty member who is willing to support you as a Research Assistant, we will consider spring admission for you. In that case, your tuition would be paid by the University of Delaware since you are enrolled in our graduate program.


Due to COVID-19, the Department of Physics and Astronomy is waiving the general GRE requirement for our graduate program this year. If you wish to apply without a general GRE score, please enter a future GRE exam date into the application when prompted. This need not be an actual exam date. Entering any future date will allow your application to be sent on to our review committee where it will receive full consideration. Reporting your scores is entirely optional. If you choose to not submit a general GRE score, this will have no bearing on the competitiveness of your application. If you have any questions regarding this process, email The physics subject GRE is also optional this year.

1) Is the TOEFL required?
Yes. The TOEFL is required of all applicants (including those who have M.S., M.Sc. or M. Phil. degrees) from countries where English is not the only official language. The TOEFL is not required of applicants who are permanent residents of the U.S. or have received a degree from an institution of higher education in the U.S.

2) What is the minimum TOEFL score for an applicant to be considered for a teaching assistantship?
The minimum TOEFL score for a teaching assistantship is 600 (Paper based test), 250 (Computer based test) or 100 (Internet based test).

3) What is the minimum TOEFL score for an applicant to be admitted to the Department of Physics and Astronomy?
The minimum TOEFL score for admittance is 550 (Paper based test), 213 (Computer based test) or 80 (Internet based test). (Admittance with Pbt/Cbt/Ibt scores substantially below 600/250/100 is rare.)

4) Will my application be considered if my TOEFL score is lower than 600?
Yes, we consider applicants whose TOEFL scores are slightly below 600/250/100. However, applicants are competing with other applicants who might have a better score. The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all of an applicant’s materials including transcripts, essay, GRE test scores, letters of recommendation, and supporting materials, and if necessary will interview the applicant in person or by telephone. If the Committee concludes that the TOEFL score is a poor reflection of the applicant’s English abilities, admission is possible. The Department will then request a waiver of the 600 TOEFL requirement for participation in the summer ITA program.

5) The TOEFL is not given in my country (i.e., Iran). May I still be considered for admission?
You will have to take the test in a neighboring country.

6) Can a foreign applicant take the TOEFL in the U.S.A?
Only applicants who are already in the US can take the TOEFL here.

7) How long are TOEFL scores acceptable at the University of Delaware?
TOEFL scores are good for 2 years. The ETS will not issue a TOEFL score report that is older.

8) Will my application be considered if the official TOEFL score has not been received by the Office of Graduate Studies?
Yes, but please have the Educational Testing Service send the official score as soon as possible.

1) Is it necessary to send official transcripts with English translations?
Yes, copies of official transcripts from all previous colleges, along with translations to English, are necessary.

2) My university is charging a high fee to send transcripts. May I send a mark sheet or grade sheet instead?
Yes. We will consider your application based on copies. If we decide to admit you into our program, you must submit the official copies (i.e. the final admission decision will be contingent upon receiving official transcript documents.) Your stipend here will be more than enough to cover the fees charged for sending these official documents.

3) Should I send an incomplete transcript or wait to send my complete one at a later date?
Please send your incomplete transcript as soon as possible. The Graduate Admissions Committee will be able to assess your performance up until now. Once your degree is awarded you should send an updated transcript/degree certificate as stated in the application instructions.

4) Is it necessary to have transcripts sent from every institution I have attended?
Yes. In general, we ask that you send transcripts for ALL schools you have attended. However, if all of your courses and grades are reflected on your final transcript for the university from which you are graduating, please send us just the final transcript.

5) I am not sure how to evaluate my GPA in the 4.0 system.
You may leave the GPA section of the application blank since a conversion from a non GPA system would be difficult and inconsistent.


1) Where do you provide a “statement of purpose” when applying online to the Department of Physics and Astronomy graduate program?
When a student applies online they are given 3 essay questions to print out and answer in essay format. These questions are the same as the statement of purpose.

2) Is there a specific form for the resume?
No, there is no specific form provided for the resume.

1) If I am accepted, will there be financial support provided?
Yes, all first year students admitted to the graduate program receive yearly support of at least $29,000 (as of Fall 2022), and the tuition fee will be waived.

1) I have my bachelor degree. Can I apply for a Ph.D. degree directly?

2) I am going to complete my M.S. degree in June  in e.g. atmospheric science. Am I eligible for a Ph.D. in astronomy?
You are eligible for our Ph.D. program. You have to follow normal application procedures. Being in atmospheric science would not affect your application status as such. We will use your transcript to evaluate whether you have enough physics background to be successful in our program.

3) I completed my MSc degree over 20 years ago. Will my age be a detriment in applying to your graduate program? In no manner whatsoever will your age be a detriment in applying to our graduate program. Your educational background is an essential part of the admission decision.

1) Who notifies the applicants that they have not been accepted for admission?
The Office of Graduate Studies notifies those who are not accepted.

2) At what point will applicants be notified of admittance?
The Graduate Admissions Committee starts reviewing applications for fall in early January. Applicants who are admitted will be notified promptly. The earlier the application is completed, the sooner a decision can be made.

3) When I applied last semester my application was rejected. Can I apply to your program for another semester?
You may apply again if you are interested, however, it is not recommended unless you have additional information to submit.

4) My employer has a program in which it would be willing to pay for tuition for up to two classes taken part-time as part of a degree program (M.S. or Ph.D.). Would it be possible for me to pursue a physics Ph.D. at the University of Delaware on a part-time basis?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a degree on a part-time basis. In practice, the non-thesis M.S. degree is the most suitable for this, whereas obtaining a Ph.D., which requires a very significant research effort, is much less practical.

5) Some of my application material may not be strong enough. How may I strengthen my application?
If you can convince the Graduate Admission’s Committee that you have a very good physics background, it is possible for you to be admitted into the program. For example, a low GPA can be compensated for with an excellent GRE Physics Subject Test score. Significant research experience will also help.

1) Where can I get a copy of the graduate catalog?
You may access the graduate catalog online at The physics program is under 'Grad. Programs, Arts and Sciences'.

2) What is required of a foreign student who would like to be a teaching assistant in your department?
International students admitted to our graduate program are required to attend the English Language Institute/International Teaching Assistant program and pass the UDIA and Speak Tests prior to the fall semester. Students who do not pass these tests cannot be teaching assistants. Those students will be supported as graduate assistants, with duties assigned by the Department. GA support is only available for only the first two semesters. To become eligible for TA support, students are given another opportunity to take the UDIA and Speak Tests.