Harvard University PhD in Physics: Application, Stipend, Acceptance Rate, Requirements and Deadline

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If you are passionate about physics and want to pursue a doctoral degree at one of the world’s top universities, you might consider applying to the Harvard Physics PhD program. It offers rigorous, comprehensive training in theoretical and experimental physics and opportunities to collaborate with renowned faculty and researchers across different disciplines. In this blog, we will cover all about the PhD program in Physics offered by Harvard, including its acceptance rate, stipend, requirements and more. Let’s get started!

Degree conferredDoctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physics
Duration5 years (full-time)
Acceptance rate5-7% (varies every year)
Financial aidFull tuition waiver and competitive stipend of $47,040 ($3,920 per month) (for 2024)
Application deadlineGenerally December
Required examsGRE (Quantitative & Physics)
Required documentsTranscripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, CV
Career supportDedicated services for academia, industry, or government labs

Why Pursue Harvard Physics PhD?

Several factors make the Harvard Physics PhD program a highly attractive option for prospective researchers. They are as follows:

  1. The department boasts a world-class faculty of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, and MacArthur Fellows, providing unparalleled mentorship and research guidance.
  2. Students gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge research facilities and participate in groundbreaking projects across various subfields.
  3. The program encourages interdisciplinary collaboration with other science and engineering departments.
  4. Students engage in an intellectually stimulating environment with fellow researchers, attending seminars, workshops, and discussions.
  5. The program offers dedicated career services to support students in securing positions in academia, industry, or government research labs.

Harvard Physics PhD: Acceptance Rate

The Harvard Physics PhD program has an acceptance rate hovering around 5-7%. It varies from year to year, but it is generally very low and competitive. One source states that the department usually receives more than 1,000 applications and admits around 90 applicants, indicating an acceptance rate of about 9%. Another source reports that the department receives nearly 400 applications and offers admission to about 6% of applicants, which suggests an acceptance rate of about 6%. 

A third source gives an acceptance rate of 13% for the physics PhD program in 2009. These numbers indicate that the Harvard Physics PhD program is highly selective and requires a strong and well-rounded application to stand out. 

Harvard Physics PhD: Stipend

The stipend support for the Harvard Physics PhD program is $45,696 ($3,808 per month). This stipend covers tuition, fees, and living expenses. The stipend is adjusted each year to help meet increases in the cost of living. It is independent of need and is guaranteed for all students as long as they remain in good standing and complete assigned duties satisfactorily. 

Assuming a similar rate of increase, the estimated stipend support for the academic year 2024-2025 would be around $47,040 ($3,920 per month).

Harvard Physics PhD: Entry Requirements

To be considered for admission into the Harvard Physics PhD program, applicants must possess the following:

  1. Master’s degree in Physics or a closely related field with a strong academic record.
  2. Excellent GRE scores (in the 80th percentile or higher) in the quantitative and physics sections.
  3. 3 letters of recommendation from research advisors or professors familiar with your academic abilities and research potential.
  4. A well-written statement of purpose outlining your research interests, career goals, and motivation for pursuing a PhD at Harvard.
  5. Evidence of research experience through publications, presentations, or participation in research projects.
  6. Demonstrating English language proficiency (through TOEFL or IELTS scores) if English is not your native language.

Application Process

The application process for the Harvard Physics PhD program follows a standard format. 

  1. Begin planning and gathering materials well in advance of the application deadline (usually in December).
  2. Identify faculty whose research aligns with your interests and contact them to discuss potential research opportunities.
  3. Ensure you have all the necessary documents, including transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.
  4. Submit your complete application online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application portal.
  5. Shortlisted applicants are invited for interviews with faculty members, typically conducted between January and March.

Documents Required

  • Online application form
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended
  • GRE scores (quantitative and physics sections)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Curriculum vitae

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the Harvard Physics PhD program is typically in December. For 2023, the last date to apply for the program was 15 December 2023. Be sure to check the official program website for the latest deadlines and application requirements.


Q1. Do I need a perfect GPA and GRE score to get in?

Ans: While competitive scores and GPA certainly strengthen your application, remember the holistic review process. Admissions go beyond numbers. Strong research experience, compelling research interests, and a well-articulated statement of purpose can elevate your application even with slightly lower scores.

Q2. Does research experience outside academia count?

Ans: Absolutely! Research internships, independent projects, or even involvement in lab work during your undergraduate studies demonstrate initiative and research aptitude. Highlight transferable skills developed through such experiences in your application.

Q3. Does the program offer funding beyond the stipend?

Ans: The program provides a generous stipend, but additional funding opportunities exist. Explore teaching assistantships, research fellowships, and external scholarships to supplement your financial support. Don’t hesitate to discuss funding options with the program coordinator when needed.

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We hope that this blog gave you a complete overview of the Harvard Physics PhD program. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more updates on courses and destinations to study abroad. Thank you for reading!

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