PhD Programme

The PhD in Physics programme is a four-year post-graduate programme focusing on original research in physics and applied physics. PhD students take advanced courses and perform research under the supervision of a faculty member. The programme culminates in writing a scientific thesis and defending it before a panel of experts.

Our Division performs world-class research in many fields, including condensed-matter physics, photonics, atomic physics, biophysics, soft matter physics, spintronics, quantum information, and more. We have a vibrant mix of both theoretical and experimental specialists, and have close scientific collaborations not only within NTU, but also other universities and research institutions around the world.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • BSc in Physics or a related discipline. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours, or the equivalent, is required.
  • Applicants may optionally have a MSc degree in physics or a related discipline, but this is not mandatory. If the university has an honours system, at least second-upper class honours in the MSc degree, or the equivalent, is required.
  • International applicants must have either GRE General Test scores or GATE scores. A GRE subject score in Physics is welcome but not required.
  • International applicants who are not native English speakers must have TOEFL scores or IETLS scores.

If you are unable to take the GRE/GATE or TOEFL/IETLS for some reason, it may be possible for you to take alternative evaluation tests administered by the School. Please ask your prospective supervisor (see below) for more information.

There are two application periods each year: October to January (for admission in August), and June to July (for admission in January). Most students are admitted during the first period.

For more information about admission procedures, including the list of required supporting documents and application fees, please visit the NTU Graduate Admissions page.

Before you begin to apply, you should contact the faculty member(s) whom you are interested in working with, and ask if they are interested to be your research supervisor. Graduate students are admitted into the Division of Physics and Applied Physics only if a faculty member agrees to be the research supervisor. Click here for our list of faculty members.

The faculty member(s) whom you contact may require you to give additional details about your educational and research background. He or she will also be able to give you more information about the scholarships available for supporting your graduate studies.

Once a faculty member has agreed to accept you as a graduate student, you may start the formal application process.

Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship

Learn More
Applicants who are Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs), and/or graduates from Singaporean universities are strongly encouraged to consider applying for the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS). The application period is usually October – November.

Graduation Requirements

The PhD programme has a minimum candidature period of 2 years, and a maximum of 5 years. Most students complete the programme in 4 years.

Graduate-Level Coursework

Students must complete a total of 16 Academic Units (AU) of graduate-level coursework, consisting of:

  • A total of 16 AU of 7XX courses, including at least one PAP7XX (graduate-level physics) course.
    To take courses offered outside the Division of Physics and Applied Physics, permission must be sought in advance from the School.

Students are expected to maintain a minimum CGPA of 3.5. We recommend completing the coursework by the end of the first year, in order to sit for the Qualifying Examination on time.

Communication Courses

Students are also required to complete the following courses on communication and related topics. These courses do not carry any AU.

  • Courses from the Transferable Skills Programme:
    • Residential Programme (during first 12 months)
    • Scholarly Communication and Impact (during first 12 months)
    • Any 3 elective modules
    • Career Preparation Workshop (during 3rd or 4th year)
    • Three Minute Thesis Presentation Symposium (for students admitted from Academic Year 2019/2020 onwards)
  • HWG703 - Graduate English (during first 18 months; must be taken before HWG702; part-time students and students who qualify as native English speakers are exempted)
  • HWG702 - University Teaching for Teaching Assistants (during first 18 months; part-time students are exempted)
  • HWG704 - Research Communication for Graduate Studies (during first 24 months)

Research Integrity

Research integrity is of the utmost importance to the university. As such, during the first year of the PhD programme, students are required to complete:

  • SPMS Research Integrity Course
  • Online NTU Epigeum Research Integrity Course (during 1st semester)

Qualifying Examination

Students must pass the Qualifying Examination within their first 18 months.

Other Requirements

  • Seminar attendance of at least 5 seminars per semester.
  • Completion of Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP), if applicable
  • Annual meeting with Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) members
  • Submission of regular progress reports, including list of publications, TAC reports, and degree audit

PhD Thesis

Student must write a research thesis. Once the student and supervisor have agreed that the thesis is ready, it should be submitted online (via GSLink → Academic → Thesis → Thesis Submission). After being endorsed by the supervisor, the thesis is sent to three independent examiners for evaluation. After this evaluation, the student must defend the thesis in an oral examination scheduled by the school.

Completed theses must be posted to the NTU Digital Repository.