Department of Physics & Astronomy

Graduate Program Overview

Graduate study in Physics and Astronomy, for either the Doctorate (Ph.D.) or Master of Science (M.S.) Degree, is a great opportunity for students who want

  • a research career in physics, astronomy or closely related fields;
  • to be expert teachers of these subjects; or
  • broad-based technical expertise for other careers.

Nearly all of our graduate students are paid to get their education, in the form of teaching or research assistantship. For 2013/2014, teaching assistantships will be $19,000 for the academic year. Students can also earn more in summer, working on a research project or for the department. All teaching assistantships include a waiver of tuition.

Graduate study in physics and astronomy is more than taking courses. Graduate students spend a good deal of their time engaged in forefront research, conducted under the mentorship of our world-class faculty. Most graduate students also spend a significant effort teaching physics and/or astronomy. While gaining these skills and earning their degrees, most physics and astronomy graduate students are also offered financial support in the form of teaching and/or research assistantships, which are co-requisite to receive tuition waivers. Our students come from around the world, so sharing with other cultures is also an important part of the graduate experience. Clemson is in especially pleasant surroundings, year-round, and has relatively low cost-of-living expenses (e.g., apartment lease rates).

After graduation, our M.S. and Ph.D. recipients take many career paths. Some join the faculty at various research universities and teaching colleges around the country. Others take research positions at national laboratories and other government organizations, such as NASA, the Department of Energy, National Observatories, US Navy, or US Air Force. Some graduates go on to work for private companies in research and development or in management. Many of our international students return to positions such as these in their home countries.