Financial Support

Students who are admitted to graduate study for the Ph.D. in Physics at Washington University generally receive a complete financial support package including a tuition scholarship that pays full tuition, together with a University Fellowship or a Teaching Assistantship that currently pays $22,830* for the 9-month academic year, or a Research Assistantship at a similar rate, or one of the Departmental Fellowships (see below for details). Such financial support is guaranteed by the department for the first five years for students who are making satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree. Thus, graduate study in Physics generally does not require additional student loans, working part-time, or any other outside means of support.

In addition, students who have been admitted to the graduate program have the opportunity to work with a departmental research group in the summer prior to their first academic year and/or during subsequent summers. In addition to the convenience of not having to seek other employment during the summer months, employment in summer research has several advantages, such as finding areas of physics that are of special personal interest, making significant progress towards completion of the Ph.D., and having the opportunity to perform research that results in scientific publications. Students who have been admitted to the graduate program in physics should inquire about research opportunities by contacting the department chairman or the head of the particular research group in which he or she is interested.

University Fellowships

University Fellowships are awarded to outstanding first-year physics graduate students. These fellowships provide full tuition and stipend support for Fellows during their first and fourth semesters, with no other responsibilities such as those associated with Teaching or Research Assistantships. In their second and third semesters students receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (see below). Support in the second year is contingent on satisfactory academic performance. Summer support may be provided by a Hughes Research Fellowship or by one of our research groups.

Arthur Holly Compton Graduate Fellowships

Each year the Physics Department will be able to award one Arthur Holly Compton Graduate Fellowship to a particulary outstanding first-year student. The Compton Fellows have no teaching duties during their first and fourth semesters and receive a substantially enhanced stipend ($35,000) during their first academic year (including summer months).

The Compton Fellowships are named for Arthur Holly Compton, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for fundamental research that he carried out on this campus while he was a Professor of Physics at Washington University.

GAANN Fellowships from the Department of Education

These fellowships, Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Need, provide a 12-month stipend of $30,000 and a waiver of tuition, thus covering both the academic year and summer research with a physics department research group. Generally awarded for 1 year to 2nd- and 3rd-year students in lieu of a teaching assistantship or research assistantship, GAANN fellowships recognize strong promise for a career in physics. US citizenship or permanent residency is required.

McDonnell Graduate Fellowships in the Space Sciences

Nine-month academic year stipend of $30,000* plus tuition remission, for students interested in working in the space sciences or astrophysics. Renewals for a second and third years are contingent upon satisfactory progress and continued involvement in the space sciences or astrophysics. For one 3-month summer McDonnell Fellows have the option of employment with one of the space sciences or astrophysics research groups, yielding a 12-month stipend of $40,000.

Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowships for Women

These fellowships are awarded as a result of an annual competition open to all women who intend to commence graduate studies at Washington University the following fall. Olin Fellowships carry stipends for four years and full tuition. Women wishing to become candidates for the Olin Fellowship competition are asked to complete a separate Olin application in addition to their application for admission. Applicants must be graduates of a baccalaureate institution in the United States. For more information, call (314) 935-6818 or visit the Olin Fellowship website

Chancellor's Graduate Fellowships

These fellowships are designed to facilitate training for students who will contribute to diversity in graduate education and who are interested in becoming college or university professors. Students will be selected who, in light of all pertinent qualifications, experiences and attributes, would contribute to the diversity of graduate education at Washington University. For more information, call 314-935-6821 or visit the Chancellor's Fellowship website

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Nine month academic year stipend of $22,830*, plus tuition remission. Teaching duties amount to approximately 15 hours per week. Generally renewable for a second year. Summer support may be provided by a Hughes Research Fellowship or by one of our research groups.

Graduate Research Assistantships

$30,440 for 12-months*. Occasionally awarded during the academic year to first-year graduate students, but more commonly to students in later years. Some are available, in the summer after the first academic year in our program, to students who have shown significant potential for original research in physics.

Arthur L. Hughes Fellowships

These fellowships were named in honor of a distinguished former chairman of the Department of Physics. A limited number are awarded annually to first-year graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance and who show unusual promise as prospective Ph.D. candidates in physics. The Hughes Summer Fellowship provides summer employment as a Research Assistant for entering graduate students, either up to two months of the summer prior to the first academic year or during the summer following the student's first year in our graduate program.

*Amount quoted is for the academic year 2017-2018. An increase of a few percent is expected for the next academic year.