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

"Among the many things that make graduate study at SEAS uniquely rewarding, two stand out: our world-class faculty; and the fact that SEAS is part of the larger Harvard community. Our students have limitless opportunities for fruitful collaboration with colleagues from preeminent programs in the sciences, and world-class schools of medicine, business, law, government, design, and public health."

-Dean Frank Doyle

John A. Paulson Dean, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; John A. & Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Research in applied physics covers the interfaces of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. A large portion of research involves condensed matter physics. Programs that include work in one or more science departments are common. Students may pursue collaborative options through the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics (MEMP) program, which is part of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), and supplement their studies by cross-registering in other Harvard graduate schools or at MIT.

Graduate students in applied physics work with faculty researching:

  • Nanoscience
  • Small-scale and nanoscale “systems” fabrication and construction
  • Condensed matter/materials science
  • Bio-nano technologies

See research interests for the full Faculty listings.

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