Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic requirements to apply to the department? An applicant for admission must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and must have the necessary academic preparation to participate successfully in graduate level courses. The applicant must be able to score competitively on the GRE Subject (advanced) test in Physics.

Are there any required courses for admission to the program? There are no specific course requirements for admission. However, prospective students interested in applying to the Physics program should demonstrate a solid background in undergraduate physics. Similarly, prospective students interested in applying to the Astronomy program should demonstrate a solid background in undergraduate astronomy.

Can I defer my application fee? The application fee must be paid before an application can be considered. UCLA accepts Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

What is the admission timeline for Physics and Astronomy? The Astronomy division and Physics division have separate admission committees. Both committees begin evaluating applications mid-January. Offers of admission are typically made in February and March.

What does the department look for when making admission decisions? Both divisions look at undergraduate grades (official transcripts), GRE general and subject (physics) scores, letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose.

Do I need to choose between the physics and astronomy divisions when I apply? Yes. Although we are one department, each division has its own admission committee and its own curriculum.

What is the procedure to transfer to UCLA from another graduate program? All applicants use the same application form. The department will recognize graduate level courses completed in other institutions if verified by an official transcript.

What is the department's application deadline? We strongly suggest you submit your application form online by December 15 and scores & letters by the first week of January.

What additional application materials are required by the department? We require these materials:

  • General and advanced Physics GRE exam scores; both are required and should be taken by October
  • TOEFL or IELTS exam scores for international students
  • One set of transcripts (an unofficial copy may be uploaded in the application for review purposes. Domestic students do not need to submit an official copy unless they are officially admitted to the program.  An official copy is required for international students regardless of whether they are officially admitted or not)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation

Do I need to submit all application materials before my application will be reviewed and evaluated? Applications are not submitted to the committee until the application fee is paid and the department has received all application material.

Should I mail copies of forms I have already uploaded on the online application? If you have already uploaded a form (for example, the statement of purpose) in the online application, please do not mail in a copy.

Can I upload or mail in my CV or resume and publications? CVs, resumes, copies of awards and publications are not required documents and should not be uploaded or mailed to the department.

Who should author my letters of recommendation? At least two of your letters of recommendation should be from academic references. If you have a Master of Science, we would like letters from both your Bachelor and Master of Science institutions.

What is necessary to qualify as a resident of California? U.S. citizens or permanent residents can usually become California residents after living in the state for one year. If you are admitted to the graduate program, you should contact the Registrar's Office, Residence Classifications (1113 Murphy Hall) upon arrival at UCLA for complete details on establishing California Residency.

How will I know if I have been recommended for admission? If you are recommended for admission, the department will inform you of its decision and financial package via post and email. Typically, all recommendations for admission are made by April 1. You may also check admission decision status online using your same email address and password as when you applied.

What type of financial support may I expect if I am recommended for admission? Typically graduate students are awarded at least a Teaching Assistantship for up to 12 quarters. International students are eligible for a Teaching Assistantship after they pass the Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP) administered by UCLA's Office of Instructional Development.

What are your code numbers for test scores?

  • Institution: 4837
  • GRE Physics: 0808
  • GRE Astronomy: 0802
  • TOEFL: 76

What test dates are acceptable? We will accept GRE scores from tests taken within the last 5 years and TOEFL scores within 2 years. If test taken multiple times, enter the most recent scores on the online application. If not taken yet, enter expected test date.

What test scores are acceptable?

  • TOEFL: 570 (paper), 230 (computer)
  • TOEFL IBT: 88
  • IELTS: 7.0

Are copies of scores acceptable? Unofficial copies of scores are acceptable for review purposes but official copies from ETS are required for official admission to the university.

Who is exempt from the TOEFL and/or ESLPE requirement? International applicants who hold a Bachelor or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the spoken language and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, are exempted from both the TOEFL requirement and the ESLPE.