Physics & Astronomy Department
Vanderbilt University
PMB 401807
2401 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-1807

(615) 322-2828
(615) 343-7263

Graduate Degrees

PhD in Physics

The Department offers a Ph.D. in Physics. Students interested in Astronomy, Medical Physics, or Health Physics may pursue the Physics Ph.D. with an emphasis in the chosen subfield.

The Ph.D. regulations of the Physics Astronomy department are set forth in the Ph.D. chronology, approved by the faculty in May 2011. In addition, graduate students are subject to any and all 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. students who have entered Vanderbilt University prior to the Fall semester of 2010, are subject to rules outlined in the prior Ph.D. chronology.

Chemical and Physical Biology Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program

Students interested in imaging sciences, or molecular and cellular biophysics may apply for admission to the interdisciplinary program in Chemical and Physical Biology. The CPB-Admissions program 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 CPB-A program may join the Physics and Astronomy department to earn a Ph.D. in physics.

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 300 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 399 and the candidate must submit a brief report on his or her research experience.
    • Pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.
  • Masters in Health Physics
    • Vanderbilt University offers a 2-year, comprehensive Masters degree program in the discipline of radiation protection, also called 'Health Physics'. The program consists of 12 hours of core competency studies and further interdisciplinary elective study in medical or engineering fields. For more information, visit the program's web site at
  • 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
  • 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.

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