Learn From World-Class Physicists and Astronomers

Study the mysteries of the universe in a place where the ideas — and skies — are big and the classes small.
At the University of Wyoming, you will work with faculty in a close-knit environment where you will advance your thinking and discover the questions that will guide your early career.

Program Details

Program Requirements

Curriculum & Courses

What Is Our Physics PhD Program All About?

Well-funded by federal agencies for their research, UW physics department faculty are experts in a variety of areas, from planets that orbit distant stars and observational cosmology to low-dimensional structures and quantum materials. Expect your graduate education to include the study of foundational physics, advanced topics and the choice of concentrations in astronomy or condensed matter physics.

And, because you are studying at Wyoming’s only doctoral degree-granting university, where the state has poured its aspirations and resources, you will have access to remarkable research facilities in physics, astronomy and the other sciences.

Graduates of our PhD in physics program regularly go on to post-doctoral placements, industry and government careers, as well as research and teaching positions at colleges and universities.

Students in lab with teacher

One of the most exciting features of pursuing a Physics PhD degree at the UW is that you have the flexibility to tailor your academic journey to your interests and career goals. With the option to specialize in either astronomy or physics, you can truly customize your degree to suit your passions and unique skillset. These tracks provide you with the chance to delve deeper into your preferred area of study and gain invaluable expertise that can help you stand out in a competitive job market. So whether you are fascinated by the mysteries of the universe or the fundamental laws of matter, the UW Physics PhD program offers you the flexibility to explore your passions and pursue your dreams.

In the UW Physics PhD program, you'll have the great opportunity to complete a researched-based doctoral dissertation while working closely with UW faculty experts. Here are just a few recent dissertation titles:

  • "Determining the Causes and Consequences of the [CII] Deficit in Local Galaxies"
  • "Formation and Evolution of Stars and Star Clusters in the Milky Way"
  • "Massive Binary Stars as a Probe of Massive Star Formation"
  • "A Microscopic Understanding of Solar Cell Materials Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy"
Student in lab

What Can You Do With a PhD Degree in Physics?

The intense intellectual and research experiences you will receive as an astronomy and physics doctoral student will prepare you to make discoveries and contribute to the fields of physics and astronomy as a scholar, teacher and scientist.

Graduates from the physics and astronomy PhD program at UW become post-doctoral researchers, work in industry and government and take faculty jobs at colleges and universities.

These are just a few jobs held by UW PhD graduates in astronomy and physics:

  • Assistant Professor Vanderbilt University
  • Assistant Professor Oklahoma State University
  • Associate Professor West Chester University
  • Associate Research Professor Pennsylvania State University
  • Packaging R&D Engineer at Intel Corporation
  • Professor at Rowan University
  • Support Scientist and STScI Scientist, Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Project Scientist For The Science Payload For The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA
  • Staff Engineer at Seagate Technology


Student standing in front of space

UW Ph.D. grads in physics and astronomy have also gone on to post-doctoral placements at:

  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Florida
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Physics Ph.D. Program Highlights

The Milky Way spilling across the ceiling of Laramie’s night. People pushing the bounds of quantum materials and solar energy. Enviable observatories. Plus, a deep commitment to your development as a scientist. This is why people choose the Department of Physics at UW for their doctorates.

Here are some additional reasons:

Graduate Assistantships

Receive full funding for your PhD program. All doctoral-level physics students receive research or teaching assistantships, NSF/NASA Graduate Fellowships or fellowships provided through private donations. The UW physics department also provides financial support for doctoral degree students to attend regional and national meetings and conferences.


Access resources such as UW’s Harry C. Vaughn Planetarium, the Apache Point Observatory (home to the ARC 3.5-meter telescope) in New Mexico, the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, the Red Buttes Observatory and the Physical Science building’s Star Observatory. On the condensed matter side, we have an array of state-of-the-art equipment and instruments for sample preparation and characterizations of advanced quantum and spintronic materials.


Collaborate with UW’s active physics faculty who are contributing to our understanding of supernova progenitors, spintronic materials, nanostructured materials, thermoelectric materials and so much more.


In addition to research opportunities offered in faculty labs and other research opportunities in our program, our graduate students go to national labs and visit collaborators across the country to conduct interdisciplinary and collaborative research.


Chief Scientist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute located at IPAC/Caltech, David Ciardi, PhD in Physics ’97, University of Wyoming, was awarded the prestigious NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work on the Kepler space telescope mission and Kepler-identified exoplanets. An asteroid, 26312 Ciardi, is named after him.