Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physics
The PhD in Physics programme is a four-year post-graduate programme focusing on research at the frontiers of physics and applied physics. Graduate students take a selection of advanced courses, and perform research under the supervision of a faculty member. The programme culminates in writing a scientific thesis and defending it before a panel of experts.
Our division has world-class experts in numerous physics disciplines, including condensed-matter physics, photonics, atomic/molecular/optical (AMO) physics, biophysics, soft matter physics, spintronics, quantum information, and more. We have a vibrant mix of both theoretical and experimental specialists, and have close scientific collaborations not only within NTU, but also other universities and research institutions around the world.
Many of our PhD students are supported by scholarships that cover tuition fees and provide a stipend and other forms of support. Scholarships may include teaching and service requirements (the exact terms and conditions are explained when the scholarship is offered).
To apply for the PhD in Physics programme, please go to our Admission Requirements page, and read the instructions carefully.
Admission Requirements and Procedures
Applicants to the PhD and MSc programmes must satisfy the following criteria:
- BSc in physics or a related discipline. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours, or the equivalent, is required.
- For the PhD programme, applicants may optionally have a MSc degree in physics or a related discipline, but this is not mandatory. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours in the MSc degree, or the equivalent, is required.
- International applicants must have either GRE General Test scores or GATE scores. A GRE subject score in Physics is welcome but not required.
- International applicants who are not native English speakers must have TOEFL scores or IETLS scores. (Note: applicants from China and India do not qualify as native English speakers; if unsure, please contact us and ask.)
If you are unable to take the GRE/GATE or TOEFL/IETLS for some reason, it may be possible for you to take alternative evaluation tests administered by the School. Please ask your prospective supervisor (see below) for more information.
There are two application periods each year: October to January (for admission in August), and June to July (for admission in January). Most students are admitted during the first period. If you have missed the application period, please ask your prospective supervisor (see below) for advice. For more information about admission procedures, including the list of required supporting documents and application fees, please visit the NTU Graduate Admissions page.
Contacting a faculty member (IMPORTANT)
Before you actually apply, please contact the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with, and ask if they are interested in supervising you. Regardless of all other admission criteria, graduate students are admitted into the Division of Physics and Applied Physics only if a faculty member agrees to be the research supervisor. Click here for our list of faculty members.
The faculty member(s) that you contact may require you to give additional details about your educational and research background. He or she will also be able to give you more information about the scholarships available for supporting your graduate studies.
Once a faculty member has agreed to accept you as a graduate student, you may start the formal application process using NTU’s online graduate admissions system.
Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholarship
Applicants who are Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), and/or graduates from Singaporean universities are strongly encouraged to consider applying for the Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholarship (NPGS). The application period is usually October – November. See the NPGS website for more information.
The general graduation requirements for SPMS graduate students are described below. Graduate students enrolled under the Interdisciplinary Graduate Programme (IGP) must fulfill additional requirements; please refer to the IGP site for more information.
Graduation Requirements for PhD Students
The PhD programme has a minimum candidature period of 2 years, and a maximum of 5 years. Most students complete the programme in 4 years.
PhD students must complete a total of 16 Academic Units (AU) of graduate-level coursework, consisting of:
- A total of 16 AU of 7XX courses, including at least one PAP7XX (graduate-level physics) course.
To take courses offered outside the Division of Physics and Applied Physics, permission must be sought in advance from the school.
PhD students are expected to maintain a minimum CGPA of 3.5. We recommend finishing the coursework by the end of the first year, in order to sit for the Qualifying Examination on time.
PhD students are also required to complete the following courses on communication and related topics. These courses do not carry any AU.
Research integrity is of the utmost importance to the university. As such, during the first year of the PhD programme, students are required to complete:
PhD students must pass the qualifying examination (QE) within their first 18 months. Click here for more information about the QE.
- Graduate students must attend at least 5 seminars each semester.
- Most graduate students are enrolled in the Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP), which requires them to participate in lab supervision, teaching tutorials, and/or other teaching-related activities.
- Each student must meet at least once a year with a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), who will provide advice to ensure that the thesis is on track for completion.
- Submission of regular progress reports, including list of publications, TAC reports, and degree audit.
THE PHD THESIS
PhD students must write a research thesis. Click here for NTU’s thesis formatting and submission policies.
Once the student and supervisor have agreed that the thesis is ready, it should be submitted online (via GSLink → Academic → Thesis → Thesis Submission). After being endorsed by the supervisor, the thesis is sent to three independent examiners for evaluation. After this evaluation, the student must defend the thesis in an oral examination scheduled by the school.
Completed theses must be posted to the NTU Digital Repository.