Research course

Applied Physics with a Materials Science option

Harvard University

Entry requirements

Students with bachelor’s degrees in the natural sciences, mathematics, or engineering are invited to apply for admission.

Note about Materials Science: Prospective students interested in materials science may choose from two tracks: Applied physics or materials science & mechanical engineering. Applicants should apply to the track that is most appropriate for them based on their interests.

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, prospective students apply for doctoral degree study at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). These programs lie at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences (from biology to physics), and technology.

When applying, select “Engineering and Applied Sciences” as your program choice and your degree and area of interest in the Area of Study menu. You must complete the Supplemental SEAS Application Form as part of the online application process. Please read the form carefully and indicate your specific interests only in the area to which you are applying.

Months of entry


Course content

Applied Physics is an area of study within the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prospective students apply through Harvard Griffin GSAS; in the online application, select “Engineering and Applied Sciences” as your program choice and select “PhD Applied Physics” in the Area of Study menu.

Are you a problem solver? If so, Applied Physics is the program for you. Applied Physicists are problem solvers by nature, spending their time exploring the phenomena that become the foundation of quantum and photonic devices and novel materials. Located at the intersection of physics and engineering, Applied Physics enables you to study the fundamentals of complex systems, including living organisms. You will work with faculty to research biomaterials, materials, photonics, quantum engineering, and soft matter.

Projects worked on by current and past students include developing millimeter-size flat lenses for virtual and augmented reality platforms, discovering materials for stable quantum computing, and building fundamental technologies for integrated photonics.

Graduates of the program have gone on to a range of careers in industry in companies like Apple, NTT Physics & Information Labs, and Intel. Others have secured faculty positions at University of Wisconsin, Stanford, and Columbia.

Fees and funding

5 years’ funding is guaranteed to all Harvard GSAS PhD students.

Applicants who are British citizens, normally resident in the UK and who are, or will be, graduates of a British university, are welcome to submit an additional application for a Kennedy Scholarship and/or a Frank Knox Fellowship.

An application for either award is separate from and totally independent of an application to a particular programme. Frank Knox Fellowship funding is advantageous in the taught-master phase of a doctorate. Both awards offer significant social and networking benefits.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

The majority of Harvard doctoral programs begin with a two-year taught master.

Course contact details

SEAS Admissions
001 617 496 6100