What We've Got

Resources and Opportunities

Graduate student working with Professor Boggess

We offer the resources and opportunities that students need to become the best scientists they can be.

In choosing a research project, you will enjoy a wide range of research disciplines, including several interdisciplinary areas.

We are confident that our graduate students can succeed in their research. We are selective, offering admission to 19% of applications in 2015.

Faculty with significant national and international reputations

You will be working with faculty members who have significant national and international reputations. To judge this for yourself, you can use the same criteria that professors everywhere use in evaluating themselves: awards won by faculty, research grants, invited talks at conferences and workshops, and papers published in the most prestigious journals. Each of these indicators is the result of peer review, on a national or international level, of the quality of a faculty member's work:

Major awards our faculty members have won:

  • A member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Three Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Fourteen Fellows of the American Physical Society
  • Two Fellows of the American Geophysical Union
  • One Alfred P. Sloan Fellow

​Research grants:

Professor Gurnett working with two graduate students on the Cassini probe

Our faculty received grants with an average of $666,000 per year per faculty member in the period 2007-2011. This success in receiving competitively-awarded research grants makes us one of the top physics departments, measured in dollars per faculty member, for all universities in the Midwest. We consistently rank #1 or #2 among peer departments (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Ohio State, and Wisconsin). Beyond indicating our faculty's reputation among their scientific peers, research grants are also important because they pay for students' stipends, conference travel, and equipment.

Papers and invited talks:


An invited talk is an honor given by the organizers of scientific conferences and workshops, where most talks are designated as "contributed" while only a few are "invited", indicating a high level of recognition of the speaker by peers. Our record is excellent, with faculty members giving large numbers of invited talks each year at conferences and workshops. They publish their work in the leading journals, as listed on our faculty web pages.

Astronomy seminar

Colloquia and seminars

Our colloquia and seminars keep graduate students abreast of the latest research. Seminars are also where students learn to give talks and develop communication skills. About 150 talks talks are given each year in our seminars and colloquia.

Our seminars, specialized by research area, are:

  • Astrophysics & Space Physics
  • Experimental and Theoretical (High Energy and Nuclear)
  • Materials Physics/Solid State Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Operator Theory
  • Plasma Physics

Interaction with many scientists

To become a successful researcher, you will want to talk with not only your advisor, but other scientists as well. We provide these opportunities. You will meet other scientists when you travel to research conferences, and you will also interact with our other faculty members and our staff of researchers with doctorates, including:

  • 11 research scientists
  • 13 postdocs and research investigators
  • 6 visiting scientists

Contact Us:

Request Information by submitting this online form.

E-mail our Admissions Coordinator

Department of Physics and Astronomy
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1479 USA

Phone: 319-335-1687