Some “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding PhD Admissions
for Physics at Case Western Reserve University

Updated: November 2017

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program. Below please find
some general information that we relay to potential applicants who
have expressed interest in our PhD graduate program in physics.. We
believe the points covered in this email will address most questions
we get from interested students. If you have further questions please
do not hesitate to contact me directly by replying to this email at
the address:

Where to Apply: To be considered for admission into the CWRU PhD
and/or MS program please apply to the CWRU School of Graduate Studies:
You must apply online. See:

Application to the Graduate Program in Physics for Ph.D. and M.S. degrees

Requirements: Applicants MUST have (or should expect to soon receive)
a Bachelor’s degree in Physics or a Closely Related Field. Applicants
MUST have an average academic record GPA corresponding to a B average
(3.0 out of 4.0) or better. There are no minimum scores required GRE

All applicants MUST arrange to have three letters of recommendation
submitted via the online application system. Until and unless we
receive three letters, we cannot consider your application.

For international applicants who have learned English as a second
language, scores for one of IELTS, TOEFL or PTA MUST be submitted.
The minimum IELTS score for admission consideration is 7.0. The
minimum TOEFL score is 90, if internet-based (iBT) and 577 if
paper-based. The minimum score for PTE is 61. Note that effecive
this year, CWRU offers the option for provisional acceptance under
our Academic English Proficiency Program. For details on this and
other issues and requirements for international students see:

Important: students accepted provisionally will not be eligible for
financial assistance of any kind from CWRU before they pass one of the
exams at the required level.

Institution Code: Please ask ETS to send GRE and TOEFL scores via
Institution Code 1105. Do NOT use a “department code”.

Mailing Address: Applicants should arrange to have academic
institutions submit official transcripts for all prior academic
coursework, including coursework done in pursuit of both undergraduate
and graduate degrees in any field. Transcripts should be submitted
directly to the Physics Department at this mailing address:

Department of Physics
Graduate Admissions
Case Western Reserve University
2076 Adelbert Road
Cleveland Ohio

Unofficial Materials: If you wish to submit unofficial (advance)
copies of any materials, including GRE scores, TOEFL scores and/or
academic transcripts, these can be copied and mailed directly to the
Physics Department at the above address and/or scanned and sent by
email to the Physics Department via Betty Gaffney at this email

Please indicate in the subject header: “Advance Materials for Graduate
Admissions”. Receipt of unofficial materials will allow us to begin
reviewing your application. However, please note that for all
unofficial materials sent in advance either by mail and/or
electronically we MUST also receive official documents through proper
channels before any official admissions offer can be made.

Fees: Please note that there may be a processing fee of approximately
$8.00 which applies for domestic applicants only. The application fee
of $50 mentioned on the CWRU School of Graduate Studies website is
waived for all Physics applicants. There is NO FEE WHATSOEVER for
international applicants. We are sensitive to the fact that financial
constraints are difficult for some potential applicants, especially
some international applicants. It is our policy that no student
should fail to apply to CWRU based solely on financial constraints.
International applicants should therefore ignore instructions to
submit an application fee. No fee will be collected nor is required
for international applicants.

GRE Exams: The Physics Department at CWRU does not strictly require
GRE scores but we do strongly encourage students to take and submit
scores for BOTH the General GRE exam AND the GRE Subject Test in
Physics. The inclusion of GRE scores, while not mandatory, will
considerably strengthen any application. As a rule, GRE Physics
subject test scores are expected from all domestic applicants who are
applying with bachelor’s degrees only. Advanced students, especially
international students, may submit a record of graduate coursework
and/or evidence of graduate-level research experience in lieu of GRE
Physics subject test results. So again: GRE scores are NOT required
but having them included can strengthen the application.

Admission Advice: Prospective applicants sometimes write to our
department to ask if admission is likely prior based on grades, exam
scores, research experience, CVs, etc. Unfortunately, we cannot
predict how likely any given student’s applicant is to receive an
offer of admission before we receive a complete application. At CWRU,
we consider each application in detail on a case-by-case basis. Our
program is selective, but outside of the minimum requirements
indicated above, there are no “cut-offs” for grades or test scores
that correspond either to automatic rejection and/or automatic
acceptance into our graduate program. In particular, strong letters
of recommendation, personal application statements, and potential
promise in research are all considered carefully for each admission
decision, along with grades, test scores and all-around academic
performance. Therefore, the the CWRU Physics Department warmly
encourages all potential applicants who have a serious interest our
our program to apply.

Financial Support: Please note that as a rule, all offers of admission
for our PhD program in physics will include at least one year of full
support for both stipend and tuition associated with a either Teaching
Assistantship (TA) or (on rare occasion) a Research Assistantship (RA)
assignment. We do NOT admit students into our PhD program without
also offering financial support for stipend and tuition. Students who
have third-party fellowship support are also encouraged to apply.

We support and encourage students to consider applying to our Master’s
Program (M.S., Physics) as well. However, we do not offer any
financial support for students in our Master’s program — no stipend,
no tuition support.

Research Specialties: Applicants are in particular encouraged to
explore the research program described on the CWRU web site and
reflect in their application on potential overlap between their own
likely research interests and those of faculty groups in the
department. See


Students are in particular encouraged to indicate areas of potential
research interests within their application statements.

Deadlines and Late Applications: The deadline for receipt of all
materials including letters of recommendation is 15 January 2018.
Applicants who submit materials by this date will receive full
consideration. However, our admission process is ongoing during the
several weeks following this deadline. Therefore, we encourage
students who are interested in CWRU to apply to our program even if
some materials will arrive after the deadline. Late arriving
applications will be considered as time space permits.

Note that we generally do NOT consider applications for students
applying to the our graduate program for admission in the Spring

Hopefully these points address any questions or concerns you
may have. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if
you have further questions or concerns. I look forward to receiving
and reviewing your applications.


-Corbin Covault
Director, Graduate Program
Physics Department, CWRU
Phone: 216-368-4006

Online Resources:

Physics Department Graduate Program:

Graduate Studies

Physics Department Online Application:

Application to the Graduate Program in Physics for Ph.D. and M.S. degrees

CWRU Physics Department Listing at AIP Physics Grad School Shopper

CWRU School of Graduate Studies Information for Prospective Students:

CWRU Physics Graduate Student Association Information Page