Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition and Fees

Q: What is the application fee?
A: There is currently no application fee for either the Physics or Materials Physics and Engineering (MPE) Ph.D. program.

Q: What is the tuition for physics and MPE graduate students?
A: Every student on a TA, RA, or fellowship receives a full waiver of the Tulane tuition (currently $49,030 per year). The student is responsible for paying student fees (currently about $990 per semester) and a 50% portion of their health insurance (about $669 per semester; the School of Science and Engineering subsidizes the other 50% of the health insurance premium).

Application and Acceptance

Q: Do you accept students who want to obtain a Ph.D. or a Master's degree?
A: We normally only accept graduate students who intend to pursue the Ph.D. degree.

Q: How can I get more information about the application process?
A: Applications can be filled out online, starting here.

Q: Do you accept foreign students? Do you accept students from China and India?
A: We accept students from many foreign countries, including China and India.

Q: Are the GRE and TOEFL exams required?
A: The GRE general exam is required for all applicants. The GRE Physics subject exam is strongly recommended, but not required, for applicants to the Physics Ph.D. Program. The TOEFL exam is required for all applicants who are non-native English speakers.

Q: What are the minimum GRE/TOEFL scores for admission to your program? What are the average scores for accepted students?
A: We have no minimum required GRE scores. We do have a minimum TOEFL score of 80. The test scores are used, along with other indicators such as GPA and recommendation letters, to make relative comparisons of applicants. We look for a complete picture in the application to find the students who we think will fit in best in our department. Test scores are just one part of that picture.

Q: How do I apply for a teaching assistantship (TA), research assistantship (RA), or fellowship?
A: Every applicant is automatically considered for a TA, RA, or fellowship. Most admitted students are offered a TA position. Fellowships are available for exceptional applicants in the Physics program. RA positions may also be available in some research groups.

Q: How many students apply to the Physics and MPE graduate programs at Tulane each year, and how many are accepted?
A: We usually receive over 100 qualified applications. Approximately 20% are offered admission.

Q: If I send you my resume, can you comment on my qualifications and chance of admission, or give me some advice?
A: Our staff is not able to provide individual advice or review your qualifications, other than through the admissions process. We encourage you to submit an application, and assure you that every application will receive full consideration in due time.

General Questions

Q: How many students enroll as physics and MPE graduate students at Tulane each year?
A: It varies from year to year. The average enrollment of new students has been about 7 per year.

Q: I don't have a lot of money. Can I send photocopies of my exam scores instead of ordering them from ETS?
A: We can accept unofficial TOEFL and GRE scores, such as photocopies of ETS score reports, at the time of your application. We will use the unofficial scores to make the admission decisions. However, if you are admitted and decide to enroll at Tulane, you will need to submit the official ETS scores.

Q: Does Tulane University offer health insurance for graduate students?
A: All graduate students are required to carry health insurance, either through the Tulane plan or privately. In the Tulane plan, the student is responsible for paying a 50% portion of their health insurance, which is about $669 per semester. The School of Science and Engineering subsidizes the other 50% of the health insurance premium.

Q: I am interested in a particular field of research. Can I pursue that field at Tulane?
A: Please see the Research section of our website for a description of the research groups in our department. Each student must join one of these groups in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Physics or Materials Physics and Engineering at Tulane. If your area of interest is not represented you should consider applying to a different university. If you do see a research area at Tulane that interests you, you are welcome to contact the professor in charge to discuss research possibilities in that group.

Graduate students in the department receive financial assistance through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, tuition scholarships, University loans, and Louisiana Board of Regents Fellowships.

Research assistantships are provided by a student's faculty research advisor, and are available at the advisor's discretion. Stipend amounts and durations are decided by the advisor, although the research assistantship is normally accompanied by a tuition waiver.

Teaching assistantships for 2016-2017 carry a stipend of $19,400 for approx. nine months, plus a waiver of the Graduate School tuition and part of the health insurance supplement. They normally require about six hours of teaching in undergraduate laboratory classes per week plus grading of laboratory reports. The total time required usually does not exceed 15-16 hours/week, so that teaching assistants are able to carry a full load of graduate work.

A small number of summer teaching assistantships are normally available, and are usually reserved for students with special circumstances.