The Physics Department at UC San Diego welcomes outstanding students from all over the world to join our highly ranked Ph.D. program.

The Physics Department pursues research that spans a diverse range of areas of physics, with equal emphasis on theory and experiment.


Seeks to understand the events and processes that shape our Universe. Access to Keck and Lick Observatory telescopes.


Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Studies of matter-matter and light-matter interactions; at the scale of one or a few atoms and energy scales around several electron volts.



State-of-the-art biophysical experiments and theoretical physics approaches to understanding the principles governing biological phenomena.

Discover Biophysics Research

Condensed Matter

Studies of the properties of condensed materials including: metals, semiconductors, superconductors, polymers and biological molecules.

Explore Condensed Matter Research

High Energy Physics

Experimental active participation in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and theoretical topics: strong interactions (QCD), heavy quarks, neutrinos, supersymmetry, string theory and cosmology.

Discover HEP Research

Plasma Physics

Studies the confinement of charged particles in magentic fields, using pure electron, pure ion and pure positron plasmas.


Application Deadline for Fall 2023 graduate admissions in Physics is December 7, 2022.

Graduate students are normally supported through a combination of Graduate Student Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships; outstanding students are also eligible for a variety of fellowships and stipends. All financial support offers include scholarships for registration fees and - if applicable - non-resident tuition. Graduate students are also eligible for student housing in La Jolla at affordable rates.

UC San Diego
World-Class Science, World-Class City, World-Class Weather

Welcome to San Diego! Home of one of the world's finest research universities located in America's "Finest City"

  • On average, there are 266 sunny days per year in San Diego, California. Average yearly temperature: 70 degrees Fahrenheit

    San Diego is just 20 miles north of Mexico, situated in the rolling hills and mesas that rise from the Pacific shore to join with the Laguna Mountains to the east. Its bay is one of the country's finest natural harbors. The city covers a large area of vastly different terrain: miles of ocean and bay shoreline, densely forested hills, fertile valleys, and mountains, canyons, and desert.

    Popular attractions include the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World San Diego and LEGOLAND California. Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., is home to 15 museums, numerous art galleries, beautiful gardens, the Tony Award-winning The Globe Theatres. Close by and rising from 16 square-blocks are Victorian-era buildings and modern skyscrapers that stand side by side, housing more than 100 of the city's finest restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and shops. Downtown San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is a veritable playground, rich with cultural offerings that include theatres, art galleries, symphony halls, concert venues and museums.