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Graduate Degrees

PhD in Physics

The Physics Ph.D. regulations are set forth in the departmental Ph.D. Chronology  and subject to all rules and regulations imposed by the Graduate School which can be found in the Bulletin of the Graduate School and/or on the Graduate School Website.

Ph. D. Chronology approved by the faculty for students entering the program in Fall 2017 and after.

Ph. D. Chronology approved by the faculty for students who entered the program before Fall 2017. 

PhD in Astrophysics

The Department offers a PhD. degree in Astrophysics for students interested in the various research areas of observational, theoretical, and computational Astronomy: exoplanets, stars, black holes, Milky Way, galaxies, large-scale structure, and cosmology. The regulations and requirements of the Astrophysics Ph.D. degree program are set forth in the Astrophysics Ph.D. chronology. Graduate students are also subject to all regulations imposed by the Graduate School found in the  Bulletin of the Graduate School  and/or on the  Graduate School Website .

Quantitative and Chemical Biology admission program 

Students interested in imaging sciences, or molecular and cellular biophysics may apply for admission to the Quantitative and Chemical Biology program , which is an inter-departmental umbrella first-year graduate program designed for students who have earned undergraduate degrees in the quantitative and/or physical sciences who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in quantitative biomedical research. After their first year of study, the students admitted through the QCB program may join the Physics and Astronomy department to earn a Ph.D. in physics.

Chemical and Physical Biology Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program

Students  interested to work at the interface of the chemical sciences, physical sciences, and biology may aplly to the interdisciplinary program in Chemical and Physical Biology to obtain a Ph.D. in that area.

Masters Degrees

Thesis Program

  • Completion, with a B average or better, of at least 24 credit hours of formal course work, of which at least six hours must be in a minor field or fields related to the major, and of which at least 9 hours must be course work above the 8000 level.
  • Completion of a research project approved by the Department, and submission and acceptance of a thesis on this work. The degree requires one academic year or its equivalent of residence at Vanderbilt University.

Non-Theses Program (Ph.D. Candidates Who Desire a Masters Degree)

  • Earn a B average in 42 credit hours of graduate study, four hours of which must be in Physics 8999 or Physics 9999, and the candidate must submit a brief report on his or her research experience.
  • Pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.

Masters in Medical Physics Program

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Masters Degree Program in Medical Physics is interdisciplinary and involves faculty and courses from the School of Medicine, the College of Arts and Science, and the School of Engineering. This CAMPEP Accredited Program is administered through the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology and Radiological Sciences with degree options in both Radiotherapy Medical Physics and Diagnostic Medical Physics. (Provided the appropriate undergraduate course prerequisites are met, the student should complete the program in two calendar years). For further information, visit the Masters in Medical Physics web page at this link

Fisk - Vanderbilt Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program

The program allows students to seamlessly move from the Masters degree program at Fisk University into the PhD program at Vanderbilt University. The two universities are 1.5 miles apart and have a long history of collaboration, particularly in physics. Read more about this program.