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University of Wyoming

The graduate PhD program in Physics & Astronomy is a small, personal, yet challenging environment where graduate students will receive advanced instruction and guidance to grow as independent research scientists while using unique research facilities in astronomy and physics. The strengths of the physics & astronomy graduate program lie in a faculty committed to excellence in instruction and individual mentoring. Unique research facilities include Wyoming's own 2.3 meter telescope on the nearby 9656 ft. Jelm Mountain and the newly equipped 0.6 m Red Buttes Observatory as well as several experimental condensed matter physics laboratories and a soon-to-be built National Center for Atmospheric Research Supercomputer. The physics & astronomy graduate program is designed to help students mature as research scientists and as professional teachers.

Laramie's location at 7,200 ft. elevation near the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains provides excellent recreational opportunities for hiking, fishing, camping, climbing, skiiing, and enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the "mountain west" all within a short drive. Its location gives Laramie a unique cultural flavor, combining elements of the rugged rural west with the cosmopolitan aspects of an intellectual center. With a population of just over 27,000 and 11,000 students, Laramie is a comfortable, friendly town having all the perks of a vibrant university community yet with a low cost-of-living. By car, Laramie is approximately 135 miles north of Denver, and 60 miles north of Fort Collins, Colorado.

We are now acepting applications for graduate study in astronomy or physics beginning in Fall 2011. Applications received by 20 January 2011 will be given first consideration. There is no application fee for applications completed by the due date! Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree based on a four-year curriculum from an accredited institution. Degrees in physics, astronomy, mathematics, or chemistry are recommended, though other degrees will be considered. Direct inquiries to Prof. Chip Kobulnicky.

Admitted students will be notified by the second week of February and invited to visit the campus in late March with other admitted students. The first day of the visit will be with the faculty and students of the Department. The second day of the visit will include a trip to WIRO and the town and countryside. We may make additional offers as late as mid-April, depending on funding levels and responses to our first round of offers. We encourage new students to arrive in Laramie in the summer before the start of their graduate courswork to work as research assistants, learn to use the WIRO telescope, and enjoy summer in Laramie.

An exciting funding opportunity is available for U.S. applicants: NSF Science Education Fellowships will pay $30,000/year for UW graduate students to work with local junior high school science teachers to develop integrated lesson plans. Fellowships will require approximately 15 hours/week during the academic year plus the development and implementation of a week-long summer workshop for teachers, students, and parents.

Application Materials


    Director of Graduate Studies
    Department of Physics & Astronomy
    1000 E. University
    Dept. 3905
    University of Wyoming
    Laramie, WY 82071

Program Goals: The goal of the PhD program in physics & astronomy is to produce research scholars who are also proficient teachers at the college level.
  • Outcome 1: Mastery of the 4 major areas of physics (Mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Quantum Mechanics, and Statistical Physics) at the undergraduate level & Understanding of their chosen sub area (astronomy/condensed matter physics) at the graduate level.
  • Outcome 2: Students will be capable of using advanced scientific experimental/observational/computational/theoretical methods appropriate to their subdiscipline to conduct independent research.
  • Outcome 3. Clearly communicate the results of scientific analysis in written and oral form at a professional level.
  • Outcome 4: Students will know the current areas of research, key open questions, and seminal literature within their subdiscipline.
  • Outcome 5: Competency in teaching at the college levels using the best pedagogical methods as determined by current physics education research.