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Graduate Program Application Procedure

Application Instructions

Application period is CLOSED for 2021/2022 academic year.  Application will reopen August/September 2021 for academic year 2022/2023

You can find information about application deadlines and timelines, the review process, waiver information, and assistantships below. Detailed application instructions for MSU's Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy are found here. If you are interested in an Astronomy PhD we recommend you check additional information on this page as well.

For questions, please contact the Graduate Program Secretary, Kim Crosslan ( or the Graduate Program Director, Remco Zegers (

Graduate Program Brochures

Deadlines & TIMELINE

Deadline for all applications to be submitted is January 1, 2021. Please have letters of reference uploaded to your application as soon as possible, but also not later than January 1, 2021. Only in exceptional circumstances will applications that arrive later be reviewed. The department does not process admissions to students during the spring or summer semesters.  Please apply for fall.

If you want to be considered for University Fellowships (for more information see below) please submit your application by December 15, 2020.  

We start making offers in February and continue until our positions are filled, which is usually in April (we enter about 25-30 students each fall). Due to COVID-19, we are unable to offer campus visits, instead, recruiting visit will be virtual in 2021, in which case international students to whom offers are made can also participate.

Application Review

Your application will be reviewed in a holistic manner taking in account all documents provided. More detailed information about important items to include are found on the pages with detailed application instructions. For applications submitted in 2020, the submission of GRE scores is optional for both the physics and astronomy Ph.D. programs. Under usual circumstances, submission of GRE scores is required for the physics Ph.D. program and optional for the astronomy Ph.D. program.

Waiver Information

Domestic applicants can apply for a fee waiver using the FreeApp program. Your chances are best if you apply for the waiver by the priority deadline of November 15. We cannot guarantee that you will receive a waiver, but our experience is that most students who apply and meet the requirements and goals of the program do indeed receive the requested waiver.

To be eligible for this program, you must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and be a US citizen or permanent resident.

Unfortunately, we cannot offer fee waivers to international applications.

Fellowship Information

There are a variety of merit-based fellowships available for domestic students. The deadline for most of these is early in January and to be eligible, we must receive your application by December 15, 2020. The fellowships are competitive across the College of Natural Science and the University. We will submit your application for these fellowships as soon as it is complete and provided it is sufficiently strong. In formation about what information to include in your application to enhance your chances for a Fellowship can be found in the detailed application instructions.  For more information about fellowships click here.


Aside from Fellowships, graduate students in the Ph.D. program in Physics and Astronomy are supported through teaching and research assistantships. These assistantships are provided pending the availability of funding and require that the student continues to make good progress in the program.