The department attempts to provide full financial support to all students who maintain satisfactory academic progress through teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, or fellowships, if such support is needed (a few exceptions are students employed outside the university or students with external Fellowships). Support from departmental sources is generally guaranteed if needed for the first three years of study, for students entering before Fall 2017, and five years, for students entering Fall 2017 or later, as long as the students remain in good standing. That is, students are required to be making adequate progress towards their degrees, to have needed committee meetings, and to satisfactorily fulfill the requirements of their TA/GA positions.
Teaching Assistants are appointed annually. The teaching assistantships are for 10 months (the 9-month academic year plus one month vacation); the rate of pay is currently $28,569 (AY 2019-2020) plus full tuition remission. Teaching and Graduate Assistants and their dependents are eligible for complete health plan benefits. A full-time teaching assistant normally teaches three 180-minute lab sections, four 55-minute recitation sections, or four 80-minute workshops in a general physics course, or the assistant will have three grading assignments per semester. Homework solutions for first time graders in graduate and some undergraduate courses are normally provided by the instructor. The total work load should not be more than 15 hours per week, averaged over the semester. Any student who feels that this average is being exceeded should immediately meet with the instructor and/or the Graduate Director to discuss the situation.
Teaching assistants will be chosen for reappointment based upon their previous performance as students and teaching assistants. Minimum requirements are:
Decisions concerning initial appointments are made by the Graduate Director or Admissions Committee, as appropriate. In this case students will be appointed who can reasonably be expected to meet the above requirements based upon the information available. Students with undergraduate grade point averages of at least 3.2, scores of better than the 80th percentile on the Graduate Record General examinations, and TOEFL scores above 600 (for foreign students) are generally automatically approved by the Graduate School.
Appointments and re-appointments will of course be contingent on the availability of positions and funding. All students with guaranteed funding will first be supported. If available funding is inadequate to support all other qualified students who desire appointment as TA's, the Graduate Director, with the advice of other faculty, shall select the students who get support. Factors to be consideed will include the previous performance of the student as a TA, the years the student has been in graduate school, the previous types of support the student has had, the progress the student has made towards completing their degree, and commitments made to faculty concerning supporting their students. Completion of ESL exams for students for whom English is not their native language will also be considered as a condition for re-appointment.
Many advanced students are supported by Graduate (research) Assistantships funded by the research grants of various faculty members. In this case, the individual faculty members themselves decide whom to support.
Graduate Fellowships, which require no specific duties, are normally partially awarded on a competitive basis, and partially awarded at the discretion of the Graduate Director, normally to entering students, depending on the funding source for the individual Fellowship. These awards are usually made for one year. Rutgers sets a minimum Fellowship level of $25,000 annually, which the department generally raises to $29,000. Some competitive Fellowships for senior students have endowments which generate less than $25,000 annually. The department will increase this Fellowships to the normal level if funding is available, but partial support is a possbility. The Department may also have Department of Education Fellowships which are used to recruit outstanding new students. These fellowships are available only to US citizens and permanent residents.
There are typically some summer teaching assistantships available and also some summer grant-supported research internships to encourage the students' active involvement in the research programs of the department. The department will make every effort to find suitable employment for qualified students during the summer. Finally, coadjutant appointments are often available during the school year. These positions, generally for teaching in the elementary courses, can provide additional support for students for whom the usual stipend is inadequate. These coadjutant positions also provide a way for students supported by fellowships or research assistantships to obtain teaching experience.
All necessary forms for admission to the
Graduate School and to our program can
be obtained by sending email to
or by writing to
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rutgers University 136 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8019
All applicants must take the General Test and the Subject
Test in Physics of the Graduate Record Examination. Information about these
tests may be obtained from Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing
Applicants whose native language is not English are also required by the
A grade point average of 3.0 or better in undergraduate courses is normally required for admission. Admissions decisions are based on the undergraduate record, GRE examination scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
Decisions are made before April 15 on all completed applications received by January 1. Most of the admissions offers are sent out in February, but occasional admissions decisions continue to be made into April. While late applications may be considered, admission and financial support depend on availability of positions.
The departmental colloquia are held Wednesday mornings at 10:20 A.M. (after tea, coffee and cookies). All graduate students are expected to attend as part of their regular graduate program. Normally, an outside speaker is invited to talk about new developments in a particular area of physics, at a level intelligible to non-specialists. There are also specialized weekly seminars in astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, surface science, nuclear physics, and elementary particle physics, as well as the Seminar in Physics course, required of all first-year students.
a) Students may appeal actions of one or several faculty members to the Graduate Director. After consultation with the affected parties, the Graduate Director will propose a solution. If this is not agreeable to all parties, the matter will be referred to the Graduate Studies Committee, which will decide the matter. In special circumstances, a student may then appeal to the entire faculty.
b) Students may appeal actions of the entire faculty to the Graduate Studies Committee through the Graduate Director. The Committee will decide whether special circumstances warrant reconsideration of the matter by the entire faculty.
Revised September, 2019