Updated: August 18, 2020
Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in physics at Case
Western Reserve University. 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 email questions we get from interested
students. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to
contact me, Michael Martens, Director of the Graduate Program in
Physics, by replying to this email at the address:
1. 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:
(SGS). You must apply online. See http://physics.case.edu/graduate-studies/apply-gradstudies/
2. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:
Application Requirements: There are two essential eligibility
requirements for application to the PhD program in physics at CWRU
— 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 or better (3.0 out of 4.0) or better.
There are no minimum scores required GRE scores. The GRE is NOT
recommended or required for our graduate program for this year. See
more below on GRE scores.
Note that a “Closely Related Field” means closely related. Examples of
closely related fields include: astronomy and astrophysics,
mathematical physics, applied physics, and engineering physics.
Students with undergraduate degrees in other area of science,
engineering and/or mathematics would only be eligible if they applied
also with substantial preparatory coursework in standard upper level
undergraduate physics subjects such as (1) Quantum mechanics, (2)
Electricity and magnetism, (3) statistical mechanics and
thermodynamics, and (4) upper level classical mechanics. Students who
do not already have the “functional equivalent” of an undergraduate
degree in physics with upper-level coursework in all four areas are
not likely to be considered for our graduate program.
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 or process your application.
In terms of academic record, we need to see all of your undergraduate
transcripts and any graduate transcripts. We need to see everything.
See more below on transcripts.
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 there is unfortunately currently NO MECHANISM for accepting
any student directly into the physics program who does not meet
minimum IELTS/TOEFL/PTA scores boundaries as indicated. No official
admissions offer for any graduate position will be made until and
unless we received official documentation verifying a passing score on
IELTS, TOEFL or PTA. There is no flexibility on this point.
Institution Code: Please ask ETS to send TOEFL scores via Institution
Code 1105. Do NOT use a “department code.” There is no “Inquiry
Code” required for Physics.
Important Update August 2020: If you are an international student
applying to CWRU and you find that you cannot take the TOEFL in your
home location due to the global pandemic, contact email@example.com. CWRU
is looking into several “work-arounds”. Please try to make every
effort to take the TOEFL but if you cannot, please submit your materials
and contact us.
3. WHERE SHOULD I SENT OFFICIAL MATERIALS?
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
Case Western Reserve University
2076 Adelbert Road
4. WHERE SHOULD I SENT UNOFFICIAL MATERIALS?
Unofficial Materials: If you wish to submit unofficial (advance)
copies of materials, including 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 address:
Please indicate in the subject header:
“Advance Unofficial 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. This is especially true for TOEFL
scores and transcripts. No official offers can be made until we
receive official copies of all sent unofficial materials.
5. WHAT ABOUT APPLICATION FEES?
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. Please ignore
any instructions to pay a fee.
There is NO FEE WHATSOEVER for international applicants. Zero.
Depending on your application process you may or may not find yourself
asked to move to a “payment page”. Please do NOT pay any fee. Your
application will be accepted and processed with no fee at all. Zero.
Please ignore any instructions to pay a fee when you submit your
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 personal financial constraints. International
applicants should therefore ignore any and instructions to submit an
application fee. No fee will be collected nor is required for
international applicants. Zero fee.
6. IS THE GRE EXAM REQUIRED?
Important: August 2020 Update: Due to the global pandemic for the
current application cycle GRE scores are neither required nor
recommended for applications. This year we will not be using Physics
Subject GRE scores to evaluate applications. This year we will not be
using GRE general exam scores to evaluate applications. Do not send
us your GRE scores. Please ignore any application instructions that
suggest that you should submit GRE scores. We will not be using them
for Fall 2021 admissions decisions.
7. I’VE SUBMITTED MY APPLICATION BUT I AM NOT SURE IT IS COMPLETE.
Concerns Regarding Completeness of Applications: The CWRU School of
Graduate Studies (SGS) provides an online mechanism for applicants to
check the status of their application. However, updates to this
status are NOT fully automated and may not reflect materials already
received directly and/or unofficially by the Physics Department. In
particular, the Physics Department does not comprehensively review
application portfolios for completeness before the January 15 deadline
(as we are waiting for letters to come in, for example). Based on past
experience, it may take two or three weeks beyond the date of
materials for the SGS online status report to show that an applicant’s
materials are complete.
Applicants should rest assured that we check applications for
completeness and if important items are found missing, the applicant
will be notified personally and directly by the department. This
means that if you have not heard from our department regarding any
missing items, you can very likely safely assume that your
applications is complete and that no further action is needed. If
something is missing that we need, we will contact you generally by
email. For applicants who have some specific concerns regarding the
late and/or missing arrival of materials, particularly regarding
letters, exam scores and/or transcripts, they can contact Betty
Gaffney by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. ADMISSIONS ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Prospective applicants sometimes write emails to me and/or 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 and every application in detail on a case-by-case
basis. Our program is selective, but outside of the minimum
application 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. Again, we remind you: for international
students there is no application fee. The best way to find out if you
are likely to be admitted is to simply apply.
9. FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Please note that as a rule, ALL offers of admission to our PhD
graduate 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. CWRU Physics does NOT admit students into our PhD program
without also offering financial support for stipend and tuition. Also
we do NOT admit students into our PhD program unless we believe that
student has good prospects for success in our graduate program with a
likelihood of continued support as an RA or TA beyond the first year.
Students who have third-party fellowship and/or home country
fellowship support are also encouraged to apply. In a nutshell, if
you are admitted to our PhD program, you will arrive with financial
support and we never admit anyone in the PhD program without also
offering financial support.
We also encourage students to consider applying to our Master’s
Program (MS, Physics). The master’s program is a 30 credit hour
degree program that can be completed in less than two years, and
includes fundamentals of graduate coursework and opportunities for
research. However, the physics department generally offers no financial
support for students in our Master’s program — no stipend, no tuition
support. This means that students applying to our master’s program
should have the resources to cover tuition costs and costs of living
for at least three semesters. Admission standards for the master’s
program are similar to those for the PhD — but less rigorous. The
master’s degree program is designed to be completed within three
semesters. Students applying to our master’s program are especially
encouraged to describe how a master’s degree would benefit their
overall academic and career plans in their personal statement.
10. WHAT ARE THE RESEARCH SPECIALTIES IN YOUR DEPARTMENT?
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
Students are in particular encouraged to indicate areas of potential
research interests within their application statements. The “Personal
Statement” is the place to describe both your background in research
and your interests for future research at CWRU. If a student is
interested in more than one area this should be clearly indicated. If
a student is especially interested in a single area, this should also
be indicated. Students should also clearly state whether they are
interested in experimental work, theoretical work, or possibly
either/both. If the student is particularly and/or potentially
interested in working with any one or more specific faculty,
mentioning these faculty could be helpful as well.
11. WHAT ARE THE DEADLINES FOR ADMISSION? WHAT IF SOMETHING IS LATE?
Deadlines and Late Applications: The deadline for receipt of all
materials including letters of recommendation is 15 January 2021 for
admission to the program starting Fall 2021. Applicants who submit
materials by this date will receive full consideration. However, our
the 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
January 15 deadline. Late arriving applications will be considered as
time and space permits.
Note: if you are submitting an application after January 15 the
“check box” for Fall semester may not appear. In this case please be
sure to indicate in your personal statement that you are applying for
admission for the Fall semester.
At this time all admission for Fall 2020 PhD programs are closed.
Note that we generally do NOT consider applications for students
applying to the our graduate programs 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. We look forward to receiving and reviewing your
Director, Graduate Program
Physics Department, CWRU
Physics Department Graduate Program:
Physics Department Online Application:
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