Welcome to the Boston College Department of Physics

Welcome to the Boston College Department of Physics. Our department’s primary focus is cutting-edge research concentrated in experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics. Over a relatively short period of time, we have become one of the leading condensed matter departments in the country. Some specific areas of current interest are superconductivity, photovoltaics, metamaterials, thermoelectrics, nanostructures and nanomaterials for biosensing, plasmonics, plasmas, topological insulators, novel electronic materials, and other strongly correlated electron systems.

Graduate students share in this research, gaining the technical and intellectual training needed for future success in the career paths of their choice. The department includes 17 faculty, numerous post-docs, and about 50 graduate students, all of whom are supported by teaching assistantships or research assistantships.

Significant research facilities are available to our graduate students. The Department of Physics is continually enhancing and supplementing these facilities and has developed strong ties to many outside facilities, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM), Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Naval Research Laboratory and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

In addition to coursework and research participation, graduate students become members of the worldwide research community. Each week there are colloquia and seminars presented by leading physicists from around the country and world. The department is a close-knit community of scientists as well as part of the thriving Boston intellectual and scientific community, allowing for collaboration among local universities.

After years of study and research, we send our young physicists into the world to successful careers in many areas, including academic, industrial and governmental positions. If this community is attractive to you, we invite you to learn more about our vibrant scientific environment by visiting bc.edu/physics.

Graduate Program

Every year, the Boston College Department of Physics welcomes approximately ten new students into its graduate program. They pursue Ph.D. and Masters degrees in various theoretical and experimental research programs including:

  • Photonics and Plasmonics
  • Strongly Correlated Materials and Unconventional Superconductivity
  • Renewable Energy Materials (Thermoelectrics, Photovoltaics, Hydrogen Fuel Cells)
  • Topological Materials
  • Biological Physics, Neuroscience
  • 2D Atomic Crystals and Thin Films
  • Quantum Information Science

BC graduates have gone on to successful careers in a broad range of fields within as well as outside of physics including, among others, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Please find a partial list of our recent alumni. Students are prepared for a wide range of careers including academic research, teaching, and industry. The unique environment of the BC Physics department is focused on a highly collaborative approach, with students forming a vital part of the community. In addition to working with BC physics faculty, students have access to cutting edge facilities and often work in integrated science teams with faculty from Chemistry, Biology, Neuroscience, or neighboring institutions.

All students in good standing are fully supported financially, with opportunities to start research as early as the summer preceding their first year. Students in good standing receive full financial support in the form of teaching assistantships and research assistantships, health insurance as well as tuition remission, which covers the full cost of tuition.

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of graduate studies, the student should have developed the following:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the basic fields of physics
  • Detailed knowledge of the specific field(s) of physics
  • Ability to do research in a specific area of physics
  • Ability to communicate effectively about research and general topics in physics
  • Ability to teach and to explain concepts in physics to students and others
  • Readiness to enter a career in physics research, teaching or related professions

The department will assess our students learning outcomes, and modify the program as appropriate, on a yearly basis in order to help students better achieve these goals.

Ph.D. Program

Students in the doctoral program may pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D. in various theoretical and experimental research programs, including:

  • Photonics and Plasmonics
  • Strongly Correlated Materials and Unconventional Superconductivity
  • Renewable Energy Materials (Thermoelectrics, Photovoltaics, Hydrogen Fuel Cells)
  • Topological Materials
  • Biological Physics, Neuroscience
  • 2D Atomic Crystals and Thin Films

Graduates of the program have gone on to successful careers in a broad range of fields within as well as outside of physics, including, among others, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. Students are prepared for a wide range of careers in a variety of fields, including academic research, teaching and industry. The department is focused on a highly collaborative approach, with students forming a vital part of the community. In addition to working with BC physics faculty, students have access to cutting-edge facilities and often work in integrated science teams with faculty from Chemistry, Biology, Neuroscience or neighboring institutions.

Financial Assistance

Department Funding

Doctoral students are generally admitted with financial aid in the form of research assistantships. These awards include a competitive stipend and a full-tuition scholarship toward all courses related to the program. Doctoral students generally serve as teaching fellows after the first year. Funding is renewable for up to five years contingent on satisfactory progress toward degree completion.

Ph.D. candidates are expected to pursue the degree on a full-time basis and to maintain satisfactory progress toward the completion of degree requirements.

Program taught in:
  • English
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Last updated August 22, 2019
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