• Resume Writing
  • Resume Examples
  • Cover Letter
  • Remote Work
  • Famous Resumes
  • Try Kickresume

Cover Letter for PhD Application: Guide for Writing One & Example From a Real PhD Student

  • Klara Cervenanska , 
  • Updated March 27, 2023 9 min read

When applying for a PhD research position, you usually need to submit certain documents, including an academic CV and a cover letter for PhD application .

A PhD cover letter, also referred to as an academic cover letter, should be carefully crafted, well-formatted, and contain specific sections.

We'll show you how to do exactly that, along with a sample of an academic cover letter from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

And if you're not sure how to go about writing your PhD CV, check out this article: CV for PhD Application: How to Write One Like a True Scholar (+CV Example) .

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What is an academic cover letter?

What to include in a cover letter for phd application, how to write a cover letter for phd application, how to format an academic cover letter, phd cover letter sample.

An academic cover letter is a document that PhD candidates submit alongside their academic CV when applying for a PhD. 

Essentially, it's a cover letter for a PhD application.

It's not exactly the same as your regular business cover letter. Nor is it the same as a personal statement or a motivation letter .

The purpose of a cover letter for PhD application is to explain to the reader, who's likely a researcher or a professor, what you can contribute to their institution and/or field.

Moreover, in a PhD application cover letter, you should explain why you're a good match for the research position on the program.

Differences between academic cover letter and business cover letter

Both these documents serve different purposes and people use them in different settings:

  • Academic cover letter is used when applying for positions in academia — most often for a PhD. More emphasis should be on education, research background and scholarly accomplishments. Moreover, it should explain what your contribution to the institution or field could be. It should also point the reader to your academic CV.
  • Regular (business) cover letter is normally used when applying for any kind of job . Hence, more emphasis should be on skills and past experience while being tailored to a specific job position. You should also explain why you're a good fit for the position at the given company. It should point the reader to your resume.

There are also other documents people often mistake for an academic cover letter. These include:

  • Motivation letter is especially relevant for fresh graduates when applying to a university, a non-profit organization, or voluntary work. A motivation letter focuses more on your interests and motives for applying.
  • Personal statement. Also used in an academic setting. It's always written by an applicant, often a prospective student, applying to college, university, or graduate school. You explain why you've chosen a particular course and why you'd be good at it. Other names include a statement of purpose or a letter of intent .

Like every cover letter, an academic one also needs to include specific elements and content sections. These are:

  • Header. Here, provide your contact information, such as your name, address, phone number, and email in the header of the document.
  • Formal salutation. In an official letter like this one, you should address the reader in a professional and formal way. If you know who'll be reading your cover letter, go with Dear Dr. [Surname] or Dear Professor [Surname] . If you don't, go with Dear Sir/Madam .
  • The specific PhD program or position. Clearly state in your letter which research position you're applying for or the name of the PhD program. A cover letter is usually read before a CV, so you need to make sure everything is clear.
  • Your motivation. Explain why you're interested in the specific PhD position — it's one of the key elements you should include.
  • Your academic background. Now, we don't mean you should list in detail every single university course you ever took. Instead, focus on the most relevant course for the PhD and describe in detail what you learned, any projects you worked on, why it was interesting (and optionally, what knowledge gap you identified). In this way, you also show a certain level of understanding of the field.
  • Your ambition. Briefly mention what your ambitions, intentions, and plans are regarding your contribution to the field when securing your PhD position. How is your research going to enrich the field? How will the institution benefit from it?
  • Conclusion. Keep the conclusion short. Contrary to a regular cover letter ending , there's no place for reiterating everything here. Simply thank the reader for your consideration and prompt them to read your academic CV.
  • Formal sign-off. Just pick from the usual: Sincerely, Respectfully, Regards... Then throw in your full name in the following line.

And that's all you need to include!

Now, let's take a look at how to write your cover letter step-by-step.

Applying for a PhD will be a lot less stressful if you follow these tips on how to write a cover letter for a research position:

Consider researching the background of the organization, department, ongoing research projects, and their past and current projects. All that before you start writing your cover letter. Knowing these things will help you tailor your letter to the specific PhD opening.

Before you actually start writing, try to sit down and take a moment to think first. Assess how your past experiences helped you prepare for the PhD position and scribble down those that are most relevant and significant for the specific program. These include any research experiences, research projects, courses, or internships.

In the first few sentences of your letter, you need to convey some basic information about yourself and what specific position you're applying for. The opening should also state firmly why you're a strong candidate for the position/program, by using a persuasive and convincing wording. Here's an example: "As an MChem Chemistry graduate with a narrow focus on the sustainable synthesis of biologically active molecules from the University of Dundee, I am excited to apply to a "Synthesis Of Small Molecule Inhibitors Using Enzymes" PhD programme at an institution with such a strong foundation and numerous research groups in this field."

This is the place where you may explore more extensively on the educational journey that brought you here. Set the foundation for demonstrating how your Master's degree and research experience seamlessly translate into the next phase — the PhD program. Emphasize how your thesis contributes to the field's body of knowledge. Mention any other publications that support your thesis. And, if you can, identify any knowledge gaps or topics that can be explored further.

This paragraph provides the opportunity to neatly tie in together everything the reader has learned about you so far. You can show how your previous experience, coupled with what you'll learn during the PhD program, will come together to produce something novel to enrich the field. First, identify the courses or topics within the PhD program that interest you the most and how they relate to you developing your research further. Second, introduce your future research aspirations and goals. Third, point out how this future work will enrich the field and what will the intellectual merit be.

When ending your PhD cover letter, briefly refer your reader to your academic CV and encourage them to examine all of the remaining projects, courses, publications, or references . Finally, thank the reader for their time and consideration and let them know you look forward to hearing from them. Sign off.

Put the letter in a drawer and don't think about it for a day or two. Then, when you read it again, you'll have a fresh pair of eyes to see the cover letter in a new light. Maybe you decide some things are redundant, or you think of something that's more relevant. Or you know, find a typo here and there.

Just like an academic cover letter needs to contain certain content components, the formatting should also align with the structural expectations for this type of document.

How long should a cover letter be? How to finish a cover letter? And what about the cover letter font and spacing?

Here's a recommended academic cover letter format:

  • Length. While STEM PhD candidates should aim for half a page to one page, humanities candidates can do 1–2 pages.
  • Font. Use one of the classics: Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial. Just no Comic Sans, we beg you. Keep the size between 10–12 points. Also remember to keep the text clean — no underlining, no bolding, and no color. However, you can use italics if appropriate.
  • Spacing. Cover letter spacing isn't complicated. Just single-space your text, make sure there's a space between each paragraph, and leave a space between the concluding paragraph and your formal sign-off.
  • Margins. The only rule here is that the margins on your cover letter should match those on your CV.
  • Consistence with your CV. Your academic cover letter should match your academic CV in all formatting aspects — including the cover letter font and spacing. For example, Kickresume lets you choose a matching template for your CV and your cover letter, so no need to worry about this.

If the institution provided any instructions for formatting your academic cover letter, don’t get creative and follow their guidelines.

Finally, to help you tie everything we talked about together, here's a cover letter sample from a real person admitted to a PhD program at Lyon University in France.

These things ensured Herrera's cover letter was successful:

  • She clearly states her motivation in the opening. In the first two paragraphs, Herrera introduces herself and her motivation to apply for the given PhD program.
  • She describes educational and research background thoroughly. The main body of the letter is dedicated to describing Herrera's educational background, research projects, internships, and skills acquired throughout the way.
  • She presents research aspirations in the letter. Herrera writes: "I have a history of proven results and profound findings. Given opportunity, I’m confident in my abilities to earn similar ground-breaking results while being part of your team."

Even though this example lacks some of the key elements, such as mentioning the specific PhD program or identifying the topics within the PhD program that interest her the most, this PhD cover letter still managed to impress the University of Lyon.

Lyon University PhD Student Cover Letter Sample

Klara graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After having written resumes for many of her fellow students, she began writing full-time for Kickresume. Klara is our go-to person for all things related to student or 'no experience resumes'. At the same time, she has written some of the most popular resume advice articles on this blog. Her pieces were featured in multiple CNBC articles. When she's not writing, you'll probably find her chasing dogs or people-watching while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Related Posts

How to write a cover letter with no experience in 7 steps (+examples).

  • 13 min read

How to Write a Cover Letter for an Internship? (+5 Real Internship Cover Letter Examples)

Share this article, join our newsletter.

Every month, we’ll send you resume advice, job search tips, career hacks and more in pithy, bite-sized chunks. Sounds good?

  • DACA/Undocumented
  • First Generation, Low Income
  • International Students
  • Students of Color
  • Students with disabilities
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Master’s Students
  • PhD Students
  • Faculty/Staff
  • Family/Supporters
  • Career Fairs
  • Post Jobs, Internships, Fellowships
  • Build your Brand at MIT
  • Recruiting Guidelines and Resources
  • Connect with Us
  • Career Advising
  • Distinguished Fellowships
  • Employer Relations
  • Graduate Student Professional Development
  • Prehealth Advising
  • Student Leadership Opportunities
  • Academia & Education
  • Architecture, Planning, & Design
  • Arts, Communications, & Media
  • Business, Finance, & Fintech
  • Computing & Computer Technology
  • Data Science
  • Energy, Environment, & Sustainability
  • Life Sciences, Biotech, & Pharma
  • Manufacturing & Transportation
  • Health & Medical Professions
  • Social Impact, Policy, & Law
  • Getting Started & Handshake 101
  • Exploring careers
  • Networking & Informational Interviews
  • Connecting with employers
  • Resumes, cover letters, portfolios, & CVs
  • Finding a Job or Internship
  • Post-Graduate and Summer Outcomes
  • Professional Development Competencies
  • Preparing for Graduate & Professional Schools
  • Preparing for Medical / Health Profession Schools
  • Interviewing
  • New jobs & career transitions
  • Career Prep and Development Programs
  • Employer Events
  • Outside Events for Career and Professional Development
  • Events Calendar
  • Career Services Workshop Requests
  • Early Career Advisory Board
  • Peer Career Advisors
  • Student Staff
  • Mission, Vision, Values and Diversity Commitments
  • News and Reports

Overhead shot of a table, with just the hands of two people apparent. A person in business casual attire is reviewing a document.

How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)

  • Share This: Share How to write an effective cover letter (with samples) on Facebook Share How to write an effective cover letter (with samples) on LinkedIn Share How to write an effective cover letter (with samples) on X

You will have to prepare a number of materials for employers while looking for a job. One type of document is the cover letter, which is included with your resume when requesting a job interview. An effective cover letter is directed towards a specific position or company, and describes examples from your experience that highlight your skills related to the role.

You want to convince the reader that your interest in the job and company are genuine and specific. You also want to demonstrate ways that your experience has prepared you for the role by sharing a few brief stories that highlight your qualifications. This takes time and research; use the job description and the company’s web site or LinkedIn page to identify traits and skills the company values.

Cover letter structure and format

A cover letter should be no longer than one page with a font size between 10-12 points. Be sure to include your contact information and address it directly to the hiring manager, using their name. If you are not sure who to address the letter to, write “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the role you are applying for has a reference number or code, be sure to include it in your letter so that human resources is able to accurately track your application. The reference code is usually included

Cover letters typically take the following structure:

Introduction (1st paragraph)

  • State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional introduction.
  • Specify why you are interested in that specific position and organization.
  • Provide an overview of the main strengths and skills you will bring to the role.

Example : I am a second year master’s student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP) writing to apply for a consulting position in Navigant’s Emerging Technology & Business Strategy group. After speaking with John Smith at the MIT career fair, I realized that Navigant’s values of excellence, continuous development, entrepreneurial spirit, and integrity align with the principles that guide me every day and that have driven me throughout my career. Moreover, I believe that my knowledge of the energy sector, passion for data analysis, polished communication skills, and four years of consulting experience will enable me to deliver superior value for Navigant’s clients.

Body (2-3 paragraphs)

  • Cite a couple of examples from your experience that support your ability to be successful in the position or organization.
  • Try not to simply repeat your resume in paragraph form, complement your resume by offering a little more detail about key experiences.
  • Discuss what skills you have developed and connect these back to the target role.

Example : As a graduate student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, I spend every day at the cutting edge of the energy sector. In my capacity as an MIT Energy Initiative research assistant, I use statistical analysis to investigate trends in public acceptance and regulation related to emerging energy technologies. Graduate classes in data science, energy economics, energy ventures and strategy, and technology policy have prepared me to help Navigant offer the expert services that set it apart from competitors. Furthermore, I will bring Navigant the same leadership skills that I used as the student leader for the MIT Energy Conference’s Technology Commercialization round-table, and as the mentorship manager for the MIT Clean Energy Prize.

Even before MIT, my four years of work experience in consulting—first at LMN Research Group and then at XYZ Consulting—allowed me to develop the skillset that Navigant looks for in candidates. As a science writer and policy analyst at LMN Research Group, I developed superb technical writing and visual communication skills, as well as an ability to communicate and collaborate with clients at federal agencies such as EPA and DOE. As a research analyst at XYZ Consulting, I developed an in-depth understanding of data analysis, program evaluation, and policy design.

Closing (last paragraph)

  • Restate succinctly your interest in the role and why you are a good candidate.
  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration.

Example : I take pride in my skills and experience in several domains: critical thinking and analysis, communication, and leadership. I note that Navigant values these same ideals, and I very much hope to use my abilities in service of the firm and its clients. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to speaking with you further about my qualifications.

Additional cover letter tips

  • Be sure that each cover letter is specifically tailored to the company you are writing to. Research the company to help you determine your approach. Check the company’s website and other resources online. You can also use MIT’s extensive alumni network through the Alumni Advisors Hub to seek first-hand knowledge, advice, and insight about the company.
  • Are you seeking a position in a field or industry that does not have an obvious parallel or connection to your academic training? Be explicit about why you are interested in that particular field, organization or job, and what value you bring. For example, if you are an electrical engineer applying to a finance or consulting position, highlight your quantitative skills and ability to problem-solve.
  • If you are applying for a summer job or internship and do not yet have any experience that is directly related to the position, focus on transferable skills that will add value to the role – leadership, communication, problem-solving, project management, etc.
  • Lastly, cover letters are a chance to demonstrate the communication skills necessary to most jobs. Careful composing and revision are essential. To put your best foot forward and ensure your cover letter will be effective, schedule an appointment with a CAPD career advisor.

cover letter physics phd

  • Career Development Curriculum
  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
  • Instruction Team
  • Mission and Vision
  • Arts, Fashion and Media
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Computer Science, Data, Informatics, and Math
  • English, Spanish and Languages
  • Healthcare/Health Science
  • Legal Studies, Political Science, Int’l Relations
  • Physical and Life Sciences
  • Psychology, Sociology/Criminology
  • Career Mentors (EIRs)
  • Internships
  • Fellowships/NEBOs
  • Additional Resources
  • For Alumnae/i
  • Why Dominican?
  • Recruit With Us
  • Become A Partner
  • For Faculty & Staff
  • Meet Our Students

How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips)

  • Share This: Share How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips) on Facebook Share How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips) on LinkedIn Share How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips) on X

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 1, 2022 | Published November 23, 2021

Writing a cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers. Before you graduate with a physics degree, it can be helpful to learn how to communicate your qualifications so you can show hiring managers you’re an ideal fit for your desired career.


cover letter physics phd

How to Write a PhD Motivation Letter

  • Applying to a PhD

A PhD motivation letter is a document that describes your personal motivation and competence for a particular research project. It is usually submitted together with your academic CV to provide admissions staff with more information about you as an individual, to help them decide whether or not you are the ideal candidate for a research project.

A motivation letter has many similarities to a cover letter and a personal statement, and institutions will not ask you to submit all of these. However, it is a unique document and you should treat it as such. In the context of supporting a PhD application, the difference is nuanced; all three documents outline your suitability for PhD study. However, compared to a cover letter and personal statement, a motivation letter places more emphasis on your motivation for wanting to pursue the particular PhD position you are applying for.

Academic cover letters are more common in UK universities, while motivation letters are more common abroad.

A motivation letter can play a key part in the application process . It allows the admission committee to review a group of PhD applicants with similar academic backgrounds and select the ideal candidate based on their motivations for applying.

For admission staff, academic qualifications alone are not enough to indicate whether a student will be successful in their doctorate. In this sense, a motivational letter will allow them to judge your passion for the field of study, commitment to research and suitability for the programme, all of which better enables them to evaluate your potential.

How Should I Structure My Motivation Letter?

A strong motivation letter for PhD applications will include:

  • A concise introduction stating which programme you are applying for,
  • Your academic background and professional work experience,
  • Any key skills you possess and what makes you the ideal candidate,
  • Your interest and motivation for applying,
  • Concluding remarks and thanks.

This is a simplistic breakdown of what can be a very complicated document.

However, writing to the above structure will ensure you keep your letter of motivation concise and relevant to the position you are applying for. Remember, the aim of your letter is to show your enthusiasm and that you’re committed and well suited for the programme.

To help you write a motivation letter for a PhD application, we have outlined what to include in the start, main body, and closing sections.

How to Start a Motivation Letter

Introduction: Start with a brief introduction in which you clearly state your intention to apply for a particular programme. Think of this as describing what the document is to a stranger.

Education: State what you have studied and where. Your higher education will be your most important educational experience, so focus on this. Highlight any relevant modules you undertook as part of your studies that are relevant to the programme you are applying for. You should also mention how your studies have influenced your decision to pursue a PhD project, especially if it is in the same field you are currently applying to.

Work experience: Next summarise your professional work experience. Remember, you will likely be asked to submit your academic CV along with your motivation letter, so keep this section brief to avoid any unnecessary repetition. Include any other relevant experiences, such as teaching roles, non-academic experience, or charity work which demonstrates skills or shows your suitability for the research project and in becoming a PhD student.

Key skills: Outline your key skills. Remember the admissions committee is considering your suitability for the specific programme you are applying for, so mention skills relevant to the PhD course.

Motivation for applying: Show your enthusiasm and passion for the subject, and describe your long-term aspirations. Start with how you first became interested in the field, and how your interest has grown since. You should also mention anything else you have done which helps demonstrate your interest in your proposed research topic, for example:

  • Have you attended any workshops or seminars?
  • Do you have any research experience?
  • Have you taught yourself any aspects of the subject?
  • Have you read any literature within the research area?

Finally, describe what has convinced you to dedicate the next 3-4 years (assuming you are to study full time) of your life to research.

How to End a Motivation Letter

Concluding the motivation letter is where most people struggle. Typically, people can easily describe their academic background and why they want to study, but convincing the reader they are the best candidate for the PhD programme is often more challenging.

The concluding remarks of your motivation letter should highlight the impacts of your proposed research, in particular: the new contributions it will make to your field, the benefits it will have on society and how it fits in with your aspirations.

With this, conclude with your career goals. For example, do you want to pursue an academic career or become a researcher for a private organisation? Doing so will show you have put a lot of thought into your decision.

Remember, admissions into a PhD degree is very competitive, and supervisors invest a lot of time into mentoring their students. Therefore, supervisors naturally favour those who show the most dedication. Your conclusion should remind the reader that you are not only passionate about the research project, but that the university will benefit from having you.

Finally, thank the reader for considering your application.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

Motivation Letter Format

There are some basic rules to follow when writing a successful motivation letter. These will mimic the standard format for report writing that the supervisor will be familiar with:

  • Use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial or Times New Roman),
  • Use a standard font size (e.g. 12pt) and black font colour,
  • Keep your writing professional throughout and avoid the use of informal language,
  • Write in the first person,
  • Address your motivation letter to a named person such as the project supervisor, however, this could also be the person in charge of research admissions,
  • Structure your letter into paragraphs using the guidance above, such as introduction, academic history, motivation for research, and concluding remarks.

How Long Should a Motivation Letter Be?

A good rule of thumb for PhD motivation letters is to keep it to around one side of A4. A little longer than one page is acceptable, but two pages is generally considered too long. This equates to approximately 400-600 words.

Things to Avoid when Writing Your Motivational Letter

Your motivational letter will only be one of the several documents you’ll be asked to submit as part of your PhD application. You will almost certainly be asked to submit an Academic CV as well. Therefore, be careful not to duplicate any of the information.

It is acceptable to repeat the key points, such as what and where you have studied. However, while your CV should outline your academic background, your motivation letter should bring context to it by explaining why you have studied what you have, and where you hope to go with it. The simplest way to do this is to refer to the information in your CV and explain how it has led you to become interested in research.

Don’t try to include everything. A motivation letter should be short, so focus on the information most relevant to the programme and which best illustrates your passion for it. Remember, the academic committee will need to be critical in order to do their jobs effectively , so they will likely interpret an unnecessarily long letter as in indication that you have poor written skills and cannot communicate effectively.

You must be able to back up all of your statements with evidence, so don’t fabricate experiences or overstate your skills. This isn’t only unethical but is likely to be picked up by your proposed PhD supervisor or the admissions committee.

Whilst it is good to show you have an understanding of the field, don’t try to impress the reader with excessive use of technical terms or abbreviations.

PhD Motivation Letter Samples – A Word of Caution

There are many templates and samples of motivation letters for PhDs available online. A word of caution regarding these – although they can prove to be a great source of inspiration, you should refrain from using them as a template for your own motivation letter.

While there are no rules against them, supervisors will likely have seen a similar letter submitted to them in the past. This will not only prevent your application from standing out, but it will also reflect poorly on you by suggesting that you have put minimal effort into your application.

Browse PhDs Now

Join thousands of students.

Join thousands of other students and stay up to date with the latest PhD programmes, funding opportunities and advice.

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Community Values
  • Visiting MIT Physics
  • People Directory
  • Faculty Awards
  • History of MIT Physics
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Departmental Committees
  • Academic Programs Team
  • Finance Team
  • Meet the Academic Programs Team
  • Prospective Students
  • Requirements
  • Employment Opportunities
  • Research Opportunities

Graduate Admissions

  • Doctoral Guidelines
  • Financial Support
  • Graduate Student Resources
  • PhD in Physics, Statistics, and Data Science
  • MIT LEAPS Program
  • for Undergraduate Students
  • for Graduate Students
  • Mentoring Programs Info for Faculty
  • Non-degree Programs
  • Student Awards & Honors
  • Astrophysics Observation, Instrumentation, and Experiment
  • Astrophysics Theory
  • Atomic Physics
  • Condensed Matter Experiment
  • Condensed Matter Theory
  • High Energy and Particle Theory
  • Nuclear Physics Experiment
  • Particle Physics Experiment
  • Quantum Gravity and Field Theory
  • Quantum Information Science
  • Strong Interactions and Nuclear Theory
  • Center for Theoretical Physics
  • Affiliated Labs & Centers
  • Program Founder
  • Competition
  • Donor Profiles
  • Patrons of Physics Fellows Society
  • Giving Opportunties
  • physics@mit Journal: Fall 2023 Edition
  • Events Calendar
  • Physics Colloquia
  • Search for: Search

Admissions Information for Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for considering the PhD program in Physics at MIT. Information regarding our graduate program and our application process can be found below and through the following webpages and other links on this page. If your questions are not answered after reviewing this information, please contact us at [email protected] .

Here are some links to pages relevant to prospective students:

  • Material Required for a Complete Application , and information about When/How to Apply can be found below on this page.
  • We have an FAQ which should help to answer many questions, and we provide Application Assistance from staff and students if you don’t find what you need in the FAQ.
  • Additional Guidance about the application itself, along with examples, can be found on a separate page. The graduate application is available at https://apply.mit.edu/apply/ .
  • General information about the graduate program and research areas in the physics department may also be of use.
  • MSRP (MIT Summer Research Program) is designed to give underrepresented and underserved students access to an MIT research experience, pairing each student with a faculty member who will oversee the student conducting a research project at MIT.

Statement regarding admissions process during COVID Pandemic (Updated Summer 2023)

MIT has adopted the following principle: MIT’s admissions committees and offices for graduate and professional schools will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.

In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students. We also expect that the individual experiences of applicants will richly inform applications and, as such, they will be considered with the entirety of a student’s record.

Ultimately, even in these challenging times, our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are collectively excellent and composed of outstanding individuals who will challenge and support one another.

Questions or concerns about this statement should be directed to the Physics Department ( [email protected] ).

Also, to stay up-to-date on the latest information on MIT and the COVID-19 pandemic at now.mit.edu .

Applying to the MIT Department of Physics

We know that the application process can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly. We are committed to reducing these barriers and to helping all applicants receive a full and fair assessment by our faculty reviewers. Help is available from the Physics Graduate Admissions Office at [email protected] and additional assistance from current students is offered during the admissions season. Further details are described at the end of this page in our Assistance for Prospective Applicants section.

The list below describes the important elements of a complete application. Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you have a concern or logistical difficulty that could prevent you from providing your strongest application.

Required for a Complete Application

1. online application and application fee.

  • MIT Graduate Admissions Online Graduate Application
  • Application Fee: $75 NOTE: Applicants who feel that this fee may prevent them from applying should send a short email to [email protected] to describe their general reasons for requesting a waiver. We will follow up with information about how to apply for a formal ‘application fee waiver’. Additional documents may be required, so additional time will be necessary to process requests. Either the fee or a formal fee waiver is required with a submitted application.

2. University Transcript(s)

Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for our initial review, with final transcripts required as a condition of matriculation for successful applicants. Applicants should include a scan of their transcript(s) and, if a degree is in progress, should include a list of the class subjects being taken in the current semester. The GradApply portal will allow applicants to log back into the application after the deadline to add their Fall term grades when they are available.

Note: We will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students.

3. Standardized Test Results

  • GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.
  • TOEFL or IELTS Test or a waiver is required for non-native English speakers. MIT’s TOEFL school code is 3514; the code for the Department of Physics is 76. IELTS does not require a code. Eligibility for TOEFL/IELTS waivers is in our FAQ section .
  • Self-reported scores are sufficient for our initial application screening, with official scores required for admitted students as a condition of their offer. Applicants should attach a scanned copy of their test score report.

4. Letters of Recommendation

Letters should include any individual work applicants have done and/or areas where they have special strengths. It is possible to submit up to 6 total letters, but 3 are sufficient for a complete application and committee members may evaluate applications based on the first three letters that they read.

5. Statement of Objectives

Research is central to graduate study in physics. The Statement of Objectives/Purpose should include descriptions of research projects, aptitude and achievements as completely as possible. This important part of the application provides an opportunity to describe any interests, skills, and background relative to the research areas selected on the application form. Applicants should share anything that prepares them for graduate studies and describe their proudest achievements.

Additional Application Materials

  • Research, Teaching, and Community Engagement – Any special background or achievement that prepares the applicant for Physics graduate studies at MIT. This may include research at their undergraduate school as part of their Bachelor or Master degree, or summer research at another program or school.  We also value our student’s contributions to their community on a variety of scales (from institutional to societal) and we encourage applicants to tell us about their teaching and community engagement activities.  The “experience” questions are intended to provide a CV-like listing of achievements, some of which may be elaborated on in the “Statement of Objectives” and/or the optional “Personal Statement”.
  • Publications, Talks, and Merit Based Recognition – Recognition of success in research, academics, and outreach can take many forms, including publications, talks, honors, prizes, awards, fellowships, etc.  This may include current nominations for scholarships or papers submitted for publication.
  • Optional Personal Statement – Members of our community come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. We welcome any personal information that will help us to evaluate applications holistically and will provide context for the applicant’s academic achievements. This statement may include extenuating circumstances, significant challenges that were overcome, a non-traditional educational background, description of any advocacy or values work, or other information that may be relevant.
  • Detailed instructions for each application section, and many examples , can be found on the “ Additional Guidance ” page.  The detailed instructions are lengthy, and are intended to be read only “as needed” while you work on your application (i.e., you don’t need to go read the whole thing before you start).

When/How to Apply

When : Applications can be submitted between September 15 and December 15 by 11:59pm EST for the following year.

How : The application is online at https://apply.mit.edu/apply/

Application Assistance

Faculty, students, and staff have collaborated to provide extensive guidance to prospective applicants to our graduate degree program. Resources include several department webpages to inform prospective applicants about our PhD degree requirements and to help applicants as they assemble and submit their materials. In addition to staff responses to emails, current graduate students will answer specific individual questions, give one admissions-related webinar, and provide a mentorship program for selected prospective applicants.

During the application season, prospective students may request additional information from current students about the admissions process, graduate student life, or department culture, either as a response to a specific individual email question or for more in-depth assistance. Applicants will benefit most from contacting us early in the process, when current students and staff will be available to respond to questions and mentor selected applicants. After mid-November, department staff will continue to field questions through the admission process.

Here are some resources for prospective applicants:

  • Our website provides answers to many frequently-asked admissions questions .
  • Admissions staff are available for questions at [email protected] .
  • Current students collaborate with staff to answer specific questions emailed to [email protected] .
  • PhysGAAP Webinars are designed to provide student perspectives on the application and admissions processes in an interactive format. This year’s webinar will take place on Wednesday, Nov 1st, 2023 from 10am to 12pm EDT. Sign up here: https://mit.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ah13eCcEh0cKW7I
  • PhysGAAP Mentoring provides in-depth guidance through the application process.

Student-led Q&A Service

A team of our current graduate students is available to share their experience and perspectives in response to individual questions which may fall under any of the following categories:

  • Coursework/research (e.g., How do I choose between two research areas and how do I find a potential research advisor?)
  • Culture (e.g., What is it like to be a student of a particular identity at MIT?)
  • Student life (e.g., What clubs or extracurriculars do graduate students at MIT take part in?)

To request a response from the current students, please send an email to [email protected] and indicate clearly in the subject line or first sentence that you would like your email forwarded to the PhysGAAP student team. Depending on the scope of your question, department staff will send your email to current students.

We encourage you to reach out as early as you can to maximize the benefit that this help can provide to you. While the admissions office staff will continue to field your questions throughout the admissions season, current students may not be available to respond to questions sent after November 15.

This student email resource is designed for individual basic questions. More in-depth guidance, especially about the application itself, will be available through the PhysGAAP Webinars and/or PhysGAAP Mentorship Program described below.

Student-led Webinar

A panel of our graduate students hosted a 2-hour long Zoom webinar in late October of 2022 to present information about the application and admissions processes, and to respond to questions on these topics. The webinar addressed general questions about preparing, completing, and submitting the application; what the Admissions Committee is looking for; and the general timeline for the admissions process.

Below is video from our latest webinar that took place on Wednesday, Nov 1st, 2023. Check back here in Fall 2024 for information on our next webinar.

Note: We have  compiled a document  containing supplementary material for previous PhysGAAP webinars.

Webinar Recordings

Past PhysGAAP Webinars

Please note that the two webinars below are from prior years and may contain outdated information about some topics, such as GRE requirements.

  • October 2022
  • December 2021
  • September 2021

Mentorship for Prospective Applicants

In addition to the materials available through this website, answers to emails sent to the department, or from our graduate student webinars, we also offer one-on-one mentoring for students who desire more in-depth individual assistance. Prospective applicants may apply to the PhysGAAP Mentoring program,, which pairs prospective graduate school applicants with current graduate students who can assist them through the application process, provide feedback on their application materials and insight into graduate school and the MIT Physics Department.

We welcome interest in the PhysGAAP Mentorship program and mentorship applications are open to any prospective applicant. However, our capacity is limited, so we will give preferential consideration to PhysGAAP Mentorship applicants who would most benefit from the program and can demonstrate that they are a good fit.

PhysGAAP Mentoring may a good fit for you if you

  • feel like you lack other resources to help you navigate the graduate school application process,
  • find the other forms of assistance (online webinars, email at [email protected] ) insufficient to address your needs, and
  • think you could benefit from one-on-one application mentorship.

PhysGAAP Mentoring may not be a good fit for you if you

  • only have one or two questions that could be answered elsewhere (online webinars, email at [email protected] , or online FAQs), or
  • feel like you already have sufficient resources to complete your application (e.g., the PhysGAAP webinars, access to other mentoring services or workshops)

poster advertising PhysGAAP Mentoring

Please note that:

  • PhysGAAP Mentoring is only open to students who are planning to apply to graduate schools in Fall 2024 .
  • Participation in PhysGAAP is not considered during admissions review. It helps applicants put forward their strongest materials, but does not guarantee admission into our graduate program.
  • Any information you submit in the PhysGAAP Mentoring application will only be seen by the PhysGAAP team and your matched mentor.

Admissions/Application FAQs

Our Frequently Asked Questions provide further information about degree requirements, funding, educational background, application deadlines, English language proficiency, program duration, start dates and deferrals, and fee waiver requests.

The MOST Frequently Asked Question…

What is included in a strong graduate application for physics at mit.

Applications are assessed holistically and many variables are considered in the application review process. The following four main factors are required for a complete application.

  • the applicant’s statement of objectives or purpose,
  • transcripts of past grades,
  • score reports of any required standardized tests,
  • three letters of reference.

In addition, any past research experience, publications, awards, and honors are extremely helpful, particularly if they are in the area(s) of the applicant’s interest(s). Applicants may also include a personal statement in their application to provide context as the materials are assessed.

Applications are routed to admission committee members and other faculty readers using the “areas of interest” and any faculty names selected from the menu as well as based on the research interests included in the statement of objectives. Please select the areas of interest that best reflect your goals.

Instructions are available in the application itself , with further guidance on our Additional Guidance page. The Physics Admissions Office will respond to questions sent to [email protected] .

General Questions Regarding the PhD Program in Physics

Must i have a degree in physics in order to apply to this graduate program.

Our successful applicants generally hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, or have taken many Physics classes if they have majored in another discipline. The most common other majors are astronomy, engineering, mathematics, and chemistry. Bachelor of Science degrees may be 3-year or 4-year degrees, depending on the education structure of the country in which they are earned.

What are the requirements to complete a PhD?

The requirements for a PhD in Physics at MIT are the doctoral examination, a few required subject classes, and a research-based thesis. The doctoral examination consists of a written and an oral examination. The written component may be satisfied either by passing the 4 subject exams or by passing designated classes related to each topic with a qualifying grade; the oral exam will be given in a student’s chosen research area. The Physics Department also requires that each student take two classes in the field of specialization and two physics-related courses in fields outside the specialty. Research for the thesis is conducted throughout the student’s time in the program, culminating in a thesis defense and submission of the final thesis.

Can I take courses at other schools nearby?

Yes. Cross-registration is available at Harvard University and Wellesley College.

How many years does it take to complete the PhD requirements?

From 3 to 7 years, averaging 5.6 years.

How will I pay for my studies?

Our students are fully supported financially throughout the duration of their program, provided that they make satisfactory progress. Funding is provided from Fellowships (internal and external) and/or Assistantships (research and teaching) and covers tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend. Read more about funding .

Note: For more detailed information regarding the cost of attendance, including specific costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and food as well as transportation, please visit the Student Financial Services (SFS) website .

How many applications are submitted each year? How many students are accepted?

Although the number varies each year, the Department of Physics usually welcomes approximately 45 incoming graduate students each year. Last year we received more than 1,700 applications and extended fewer than 90 offers of admission.

What are the minimum grades and exam scores for admitted applicants?

There are no minimum standards for overall grade point averages/GPAs. Grades from physics and other related classes will be carefully assessed. Under a special COVID-19 policy, MIT will accept transcripts with a variety of grading conventions, including any special grading given during the COVID-19 pandemic. GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.

Our program is conducted in English and all applicants must demonstrate their English language proficiency. Non-native English speakers should review our policy carefully before waiving the TOEFL/IELTS requirements. We do not set a minimum requirement on TOEFL/IELTS scores; however, students who are admitted to our program typically score above the following values:

  • IELTS – 7
  • TOEFL (computer based) – 200
  • TOEFL (iBT) – 100
  • TOEFL (standard) – 600

The Application Process

When is the deadline for applying to the phd program in physics.

Applications for enrollment in the fall are due each year by 11:59pm EST on December 15 of the preceding year. There is no admission cycle for spring-term enrollment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for me to take tests in person. Can I still apply?

GRE Tests are not required for graduate applications submitted in 2023. The Physics subject GRE (PGRE) will be optional in 2023 and our department does not require results from the General GRE test.Non-native English speakers who are not eligible for a test waiver should include their results from either an in-person or online version of the TOEFL or IELTS test.

Does the Department of Physics provide waivers for the English language exam (TOEFL/IELTS)?

An English language exam (IELTS, TOEFL, TOEFL iBT, or the C2 Cambridge English Proficiency exam) is required of all applicants who are from a country in which English is not the primary language. Exceptions to this policy will be considered for candidates who, at the start of their graduate studies in 2022, will have been in the US or in a country whose official language is English for three years or longer and who will have received a degree from a college or university in a country where the language of education instruction is English. An interview via telephone, Zoom, or Skype may be arranged at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. More information on a possible English Language Waiver Decision (PDF).

Does the Department of Physics provide application fee waivers?

Although we do not want the MIT application fee to be a barrier to admission, we cannot provide application fee waivers to all who request one.  Under-resourced applicants, and applicants who have participated in the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), Converge, or another MIT program or an official MIT recruiting visit are eligible for a fee waiver from the MIT Office of Graduate Education (OGE). Please check MIT Graduate Diversity Programs for further details.  Departmentally, we have allotted a small number of waivers for applicants who have completed an application (including transcript uploads, and requests for letters of recommendation), but do not qualify for a waiver from the OGE. Fee waiver requests will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis, and not after December 1. Furthermore, applications lacking the paid fee or a fee waiver by 11:59pm EST on December 15 will not be reviewed or considered for admission. Please complete the  MIT Physics Departmental Fee Waiver Application Form  when you are ready to apply for a departmental waiver. Waivers are not awarded until the application is complete.

Can I arrange a visit to the Physics Department or a specific research area?

Update as of September 23, 2021: In an effort to keep our community safe and healthy, we are not currently hosting or meeting with outside visitors in person, nor are we facilitating visits to our classrooms. Current graduate students and prospective applicants should direct any questions by email to [email protected] .

Applicants are invited to send specific questions to the Physics Admissions Office and some questions may be forwarded to current students for further information.

Can I receive an update on the status of my application?

Candidates will receive email acknowledgments from the Physics Academic Programs Office informing them whether their application is complete, is missing materials, or if further information is needed. Due to the high volume of applications that are received, no additional emails or telephone inquiries can be answered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all items are sent.

When will I be notified of a final decision?

Applicants will be notified via email of decisions by the end of February. If you have not heard from us by March 1, please send email to [email protected] .

We do not provide results by phone.

Can admitted students start in a term other than the next Fall semester?

Applications submitted between September 15 and December 15 by 11:59pm EST are assessed for the following Fall semester. We do not provide a separate admission review cycle for the Spring semester. Individual research supervisors may invite incoming students to start their research during the summer term a few months earlier than their studies would normally begin. All other incoming students start their studies in late August for the Fall term.

Once admitted, applicants may request a one-year deferral to attend a specific academic program or for another approved reason, with single semester deferrals for the following Spring term granted only rarely.

Motivation letter samples and templates

cover letter physics phd

Sample of Motivation Letter for PhD in Physics: Crafting a Compelling Application

Writing a compelling motivation letter is an essential step when applying for a PhD program in physics. This letter serves as a platform to express your passion for the subject, outline your research interests, and showcase your qualifications to the admissions committee. Crafting an effective motivation letter requires careful thought, strategic planning, and a deep understanding of what makes you a strong candidate for the program. In this article, we will provide you with valuable insights and a sample of a motivation letter for a PhD in physics to guide you through the process.

How do I write a motivation letter for a PhD in physics?

When writing a motivation letter for a PhD in physics, it’s important to follow a structured approach that highlights your academic achievements, research experiences, and future goals. Here are some key steps to consider:

  • Introduction: Begin your letter with a captivating opening that grabs the reader’s attention and introduces yourself. State your purpose clearly and concisely, expressing your interest in pursuing a PhD in physics at the specific institution.
  • Research interests: Elaborate on your research interests within the field of physics. Discuss any specific areas or sub-disciplines that you are passionate about and explain how they align with the department’s expertise and ongoing research.
  • Academic background: Highlight your academic achievements, such as your undergraduate and/or master’s degree in physics or related disciplines. Showcase any relevant coursework, projects, or research experiences that demonstrate your aptitude and proficiency in the subject.
  • Research experience: Detail any research experiences you have had, including internships, research assistantships, or independent projects. Emphasize the skills you acquired, methodologies used, and the impact of your work. Connect your experiences to your future research goals and how they have shaped your passion for further study.
  • Future goals and aspirations: Discuss your long-term career goals and how pursuing a PhD in physics aligns with those aspirations. Explain how the program will contribute to your personal and professional growth, and how it will enable you to make a meaningful impact in the field.
  • Fit with the program: Demonstrate your familiarity with the specific PhD program and the department’s strengths. Discuss the faculty members whose research aligns with your interests and highlight any potential collaborations or resources that attract you to the program.

Sample motivation letter for PhD in Physics

[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] [Email Address] [Phone Number] [Date]

Graduate Admissions Committee Department of Physics Princeton University [Princeton, NJ ZIP Code]

Dear Members of the Graduate Admissions Committee,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Physics at Princeton University. With great admiration for Princeton’s rich scientific legacy, renowned faculty, and cutting-edge research opportunities, I am eager to contribute to the vibrant academic community and pursue my research aspirations at your esteemed institution.

Throughout my academic journey, I have cultivated a deep passion for understanding the fundamental principles that govern our universe. My undergraduate studies in Physics at [University Name] have equipped me with a solid foundation in theoretical and experimental physics, honing my analytical and problem-solving skills. Engaging in coursework such as quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetism has fostered my intellectual curiosity and allowed me to appreciate the elegance and complexity of the physical world.

Driven by a desire to explore the frontiers of knowledge, I have actively sought research experiences to expand my understanding of physics beyond the classroom. As a research assistant in the Department of Physics at [University/Institution], I collaborated with a team of esteemed professors on a project focused on quantum information processing. This experience exposed me to cutting-edge research methodologies, sophisticated experimental setups, and advanced data analysis techniques. It further solidified my passion for pushing the boundaries of scientific exploration and deepened my appreciation for the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of physics research.

My research interests lie at the intersection of condensed matter physics and quantum computing. I am particularly fascinated by the emergent phenomena in quantum materials and their potential applications in quantum information science. Princeton University’s expertise in condensed matter physics, quantum field theory, and quantum information processing aligns perfectly with my research aspirations. I am particularly drawn to the groundbreaking work of Professor [Faculty Name] in the field of topological insulators, which has significantly influenced my research interests.

Princeton’s commitment to fostering a stimulating and inclusive academic environment also resonates deeply with me. I am eager to engage in discussions and collaborations with fellow passionate physicists, to contribute to the vibrant research community, and to benefit from the intellectual exchanges that Princeton offers. The prospect of being part of a community that encourages interdisciplinary collaborations and promotes groundbreaking discoveries fills me with excitement and a strong sense of belonging.

In conclusion, I believe that Princeton University’s PhD program in Physics is the ideal platform for me to further cultivate my passion for physics and make meaningful contributions to the field. I am confident that my strong academic background, research experiences, and unwavering commitment to scientific inquiry make me a suitable candidate for your esteemed program. Given the opportunity, I am eager to immerse myself in Princeton’s vibrant academic community, collaborate with distinguished faculty, and pursue innovative research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge.

Thank you for considering my application. I would be honored to be part of Princeton University’s physics community and contribute to its rich scientific heritage. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further and to contribute to the ongoing pursuit of scientific excellence at Princeton University.

[Your Name]

Writing a motivation letter for a PhD in physics requires a combination of passion, clarity, and strategic planning. By showcasing your academic achievements, research experiences, and future goals, you can effectively convey your motivation and qualifications to the admissions committee. Remember to personalize your letter for each institution and demonstrate a genuine connection between your research interests and the program’s offerings. With careful thought and attention to detail, you can craft a compelling motivation letter that sets you apart and increases your chances of securing a position in a PhD program in physics.

Author Admin

StandOut CV

Physics Graduate CV example

Andrew Fennell photo

Whether you want to be a data analyst, engineer, researcher or even a teacher, your physics degree can open you up to a lot of exciting job opportunities.

That being said, graduate roles can be competitive, so you need to be able to showcase your skills and everything you’ve learnt during your time at university.

Below, we’ve put together an example of a physics graduate CV to help you create a winning application that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Guide contents

Physics Graduate CV example

  • Structuring and formatting your CV
  • Writing your CV profile
  • Detailing work experience
  • Your education
  • Skills required for your Physics Graduate CV

CV templates 

Physics Graduate CV 1

Before you start writing your own CV, take a look at the example Physics Graduate CV above to give yourself a basic understanding of the style and format that recruiters and hiring managers prefer to see.

Also, take note of the type of content that is included to impress recruiters, and how the most relevant information is made prominent.

Physics Graduate CV structure and format

If you focus on the written content of your CV but ignore how it actually looks, your efforts could end up wasted.

No matter how suitable you are for the role, no recruiter wants to spend time squinting and trying to navigate a badly designed and disorganised CV.

Instead, make sure to organise your content into a simple structure and spend some time formatting it for ease of reading – it’ll get you in recruiter’s good books from the get-go!

CV structure

Formatting Tips

  • Length: Recruiters will be immediately put off by lengthy CVs – with hundreds of applications to read through, they simply don’t have the time! Grabbing their attention with a short, snappy and highly relevant CV is far more likely to lead to success. Aim for two sides of A4 or less.
  • Readability : To help busy recruiters scan through your CV, make sure your section headings stand out – bold or coloured text works well. Additionally, try to use bullet points wherever you can, as they’re far easier to skim through than huge paragraphs. Lastly, don’t be afraid of white space on your CV – a little breathing space is great for readability.
  • Design: The saying ‘less is more’ couldn’t be more applicable to CVs. Readability is key, so avoid overly complicated designs and graphics. A subtle colour palette and easy-to-read font is all you need!
  • Avoid photos: Ditch logos, images or profile photos. Not only do they take up valuable space, but they may even distract recruiters from your important written content.

CV builder

Structuring your CV

For easy reading, write your CV to the following CV structure:

  • Contact details – Make it easy for recruiters to get in touch with you by listing your contact details at the top of your CV.
  • Profile – A short and snappy summary of your experience and skills, showcasing what makes you a good fit for the position.
  • Work experience / career history – Note down all your work history, with your current position first, then working backwards.
  • Education – A short list of your academic background and professional/vocational qualifications.
  • Interest and hobbies – This is an optional section, which you can use to highlight any relevant hobbies or interests.

Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.

CV Contact Details

Contact details

Kick-start your CV with your contact details, so recruiters can get in touch easily. Here’s what you should include:

  • Mobile number
  • Email address – Make sure it’s professional, with no silly nicknames.
  • Location – Your town or city is sufficient, rather than a full address.
  • LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Ensure they’ve been updated and are looking slick and professional.

Quick tip: Avoid listing your date of birth, marital status or other irrelevant details – they’re unnecessary at this stage.

Physics Graduate CV Profile

Recruiters read through countless applications every day.

If they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll simply move onto the next one.

That’s what makes your CV profile (or personal statement , if you’re an entry-level/graduate candidate) so important.

This short and snappy summary sits at the top of your CV, and should give a high-level overview of why you’re a good match for the job.

This way, you can ensure that busy recruiters see your suitability from the outset, and so, feel your CV is worth their time.

CV profile

Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:

  • Keep it brief: Recruiters are busy, so to ensure your profile is actually read, it’s best to keep it short and snappy. 3-5 punchy lines makes for the perfect profile.
  • Tailor it: The biggest CV mistake? A generic, mass-produced document which is sent out to tens of employers. If you want to land an interview, you need to tailor your CV profile (and your application as a whole) to the specific roles you’re applying for. So, before you start writing, remember to read over those job descriptions and make a list of the skills, knowledge and experience the employers are looking for.
  • Don’t add an objective: Career goals and objectives are best suited to your cover letter , so don’t waste space with them in your CV profile.
  • Avoid cliches: If your CV is riddled with clichès like “Dynamic thought-leader”, hit that delete button. Phrases like these are like a broken record to recruiters, who read them countless times per day. Hard facts, skills, knowledge and results are sure to yield far better results.

What to include in your Physics Graduate CV profile?

  • Summary of experience: Recruiters will want to know what type of companies you’ve worked for, industries you have knowledge of, and the type of work you’ve carried out in the past, so give them a summary of this in your profile.
  • Relevant skills: Employers need to know what skills you can bring to their organisation, and ideally they want to see skills that match their job vacancy. So, research your target roles thoroughly and add the most important Physics Graduate skills to your profile.
  • Essential qualifications: If you have any qualifications which are highly relevant to Physics Graduate jobs, then highlight them in your profile so that employers do not miss them.

Quick tip: Your CV is your first impression on recruiters, so it’s vital to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes if you want to appear professional. Use our quick-and-easy CV Builder to add pre-written content that has been crafted by recruitment experts.

Core skills section

Underneath your profile, create a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.

It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.

Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.

Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.

CV core skills

Work experience/Career history

Now that recruiters have a good overview of your skills and abilities, you need to jump into the detail of your career history.

Give them a more thorough insight into what you can do by creating a detailed list of your relevant experience.

Start with your current role, and work backwards through all the relevant positions you’ve held. This could be freelance, contract or voluntary work too; as long as it’s related to the role you’re applying for.

Work experience

Structuring your roles

Recruiters will be keen to gain a better idea of where you’ve worked and how you apply your skill-set in the workplace.

However, if they’re faced with huge, hard-to-read paragraphs, they may just gloss over it and move onto the next application.

To avoid this, use the simple 3-step role structure, as shown below:

Role descriptions

Begin with a summary of your role, detailing what the purpose of your job was, who you reported to and what size of team you were part of (or led).

Key responsibilities

Using easy-to-read bullet points, note down your day-to-day responsibilities in the role.

Make sure to showcase how you used your hard sector skills and knowledge.

Key achievements

Finish off by showcasing 1-3 key achievements made within the role.

This could be anything that had a positive effect on your company, clients or customers, such as saving time or money, receiving exemplary feedback or receiving an award.

At the bottom of your CV is your full education section. You can list your formal academic qualifications, such as:

  • GCSE’s

As well as any specific Physics Graduate qualifications that are essential to the jobs you are applying for. Note down the name of the qualification, the organisation at which you studied, and the date of completion.

Interests and hobbies

Although this is an optional section, it can be useful if your hobbies and interests will add further depth to your CV.

Interests which are related to the sector you are applying to, or which show transferable skills like leadership or teamwork, can worth listing.

On the other hand, generic hobbies like “going out with friends” won’t add any value to your application, so are best left off your CV.

Essential skills for your Physics Graduate CV

Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.

However, commonly desired  Physics Graduate  skills include:

Technical skills and knowledge: You need to demonstrate an understanding of the core physics skills; these will vary depending on the role

Communication skills: It’s likely that you’ll be conveying complex ideas and using a lot of technical language; therefore strong communication is crucial

Problem- solving: No matter what role you have, you need to prove that you can take a pragmatic and analytical approach to problem-solving

Research: A huge part of physics is being able to undertake research and record your findings

Teamwork: Depending on the nature of the role, it’s likely you’ll find yourself working on group-based projects; therefore you need to be able to work with others efficiently

Writing your Physics Graduate CV

A strong, compelling CV is essential to get noticed and land interviews with the best employers.

To ensure your CV stands out from the competition, make sure to tailor it to your target role and pack it with sector-specific skills and results.

Remember to triple-check for spelling and grammar errors before hitting send.

Good luck with the job search!

cover letter - theoretical physics

aristotle89 1 / -   Oct 22, 2014   #1 I prepare a sample cover letter. please read it and send me some suggestions and correct grammatical errors. I want to send this cover letter for PhD position in some Australian university. ____________________________________________________________________ Dear Dr. XXX, I am interested in applying for the graduate program at your institution and I'd like to inquire about the availability of any positions at your Research Group. In February 2015, I'll get the Master degree supervised by Prof XXX in the Physics Department of XXX University, XXX. My Master thesis is about Supergravities, so I I've read (or am reading) your book and some of your papers and found some information about your Research Group. I am enclosing my resume for your review. During my academic years, I was doing research on the F(R) Gravity and Supergravity. Although higher-derivative theories of cosmology are toy models, but in this studying, I've gained many skills and experiences in fields like Superspace, Supersymmetry, and Supergravity. Moreover, I've expanded my knowledge via specific courses such as QFT, and String Theory, in order to ensure (that I have) a wide basis of physical phenomena and theory. I hope my education, research experience and background would be a good qualification for your requirements. I am enclosing my curriculum vitae (, recommendation letters, degree certificates, and my transcripts) . Thank you very much for taking the time to consider my application. I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact me if you need any additional information. Yours sincerely, XXX

cover letter physics phd

  • requirements

PhD Physics Requirements

We offer graduate study leading to the PhD in Physics.

Course Requirements

Must take all courses as a letter grade and receive a B or better.

  • Physics 205: Classical Mechanics
  • Physics 210A: Electromagnetic Theory
  • Physics 210B: Electromagnetic Theory
  • Physics 215A: Quantum Mechanics
  • Physics 215B: Quantum Mechanics
  • Physics 215C: Quantum Mechanics
  • Physics 219: Statistical Mechanics
  • Physics 237: Galactic Dynamics *

* Physics 237 may be substituted for Physics 205 provided the student has demonstrated competency in Lagrangian Mechanics to the Physics 205 instructor. If Physics 237 is used this way as a substitution, it cannot be used to satisfy the elective requirement.

Must take all electives as a letter grade and receive a B or better. Theoretical physics students must complete a minimum of five advanced graduate courses, and experimental physics students must complete a minimum of three advanced graduate courses with a grade of B or better. For theoretical physics students, at least one of these courses must be in an area clearly distinct from the student’s field of specialization – such a determination will be made by the graduate advisor.

These courses are taken the first year of graduate school.

  • Physics 260A: Colloquium
  • Physics 260G: Graduate Seminar
  • Physics 500: Teaching Assistant Seminar (Fall only)

Course Descriptions can be viewed here .

The advancement exam is taken by the end of spring quarter in the student's third year. The exam begins with a short presentation in which the student assesses the overall situation in the field, and proposes a possible line of research, justifying its potential significance. The exam committee may then ask more general background questions. The scope and content of the exam are agreed upon beforehand. If the committee fails the student, the reasons will be given in writing, and the student must retake the exam by the end of summer quarter of the third year. After advancement, the Supervising Committee will be chaired by the student’s research advisor (or co-chaired by the advisor if they are not UCSB physics ladder faculty).

Photo of Jennifer Farrar

Jennifer Farrar

  related links.

  • Advancing to Candidacy
  • PhD Physics  (pdf)
  • PhD Physics with an Astrophysics Emphasis (pdf)
  •   Mailing address: Department of Physics Broida Hall University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9530
  •   People
  •   Give Feedback
  •   Jobs
  •   Main office hours: [PST] Monday through Friday 9am-12pm and 1-4pm
  • Business Operations
  • Room Reservations
  • Material Services
  • Machine Shop
  • Computer Support
  • Information
  • Terms of Use

Department of Physics • UC Santa Barbara 2024 © Regents of the University of California

Jobline LMU

Links and Functions

  • www.en.lmu.de
  • Sprachenzentrum

Breadcrumb Navigation

  • CV and cover letters

Main Navigation

  • About Jobline LMU
  • English-speaking countries
  • Preparation
  • Written applications
  • Letters of motivation
  • Recommendation letters
  • Thank you letters
  • Application language

CV and Cover letter samples

 uk applications.

  • Peter Hunzicker is a final-year student of Economics and Business Administration and applied for a graduate traineeship. (Peter's CV and cover letter )
  • Sven Mayr is a final-year Engineering student and applied for a graduate work placement. (Sven's CV and cover letter )
  • Antonia Wellenreuter is a third-year student of Art History and English and applied for a work placement. (Antonia's CV and cover letter )

US applications

  • Magdalena Becker is a research assistant studying towards a PhD in Physics and applied for a graduate job. (Magdalena's CV and cover letter )
  • Paul Straub is a third-year student of high school education and applied for an Assistant Teacher internship. (Paul's CV and cover letter )

Other countries

For countries where English is the lingua franca, e.g. Brazil and Scandinavian countries, check the website of or telephone the organisation you are applying to in order to find out their preferred English.

  • Elena Buchwald is a graduate of Psychology and Media studies and applied for a graduate internship in Australia. (Elena's CV and cover letter )
  • Mareike Heftner is a first-year student of Tourism Management and applied for an internship in New Zealand. (Mareike's CV and cover letter )
  • Larissa Merzeneder is a second-year student of Media Education and applied for an internship in Canada. (Larissa's CV and cover letter )
  • Imprint and Disclaimer
  • Privacy Policy
  • Accessibility

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Patent Examiner (Physics)

Department of commerce.

Do you aspire to use your engineering or science background to serve on the cutting edge of innovation? Now you can, by being the first to examine new inventions to determine and grant patents as a Patent Examiner at America's Innovation Agency! >> ATTEND our virtual webinar series >> EXPLORE becoming a patent examiner >> MEET our diverse group of employees >> LEARN MORE about the USPTO's comprehensive work-life balance package and benefits

  • Accepting applications

Open & closing dates

10/31/2023 to 06/24/2024

Salary ranges according to grade levels. GS-07: $61,325 to $79,722; GS-09: $71,581 to $93,052

Pay scale & grade

  • Alexandria, VA

Telework eligible

Yes—and includes 100% remote option

Travel Required

Not required

Relocation expenses reimbursed

Appointment type, work schedule.


Promotion potential

Job family (series).

1224 Patent Examining

Supervisory status

Security clearance, position sensitivity and risk.

Moderate Risk (MR)

Trust determination process


Announcement number


Control number

This job is open to, career transition (ctap, ictap, rpl).

Federal employees who meet the definition of a "surplus" or "displaced" employee.

Individuals with disabilities

U.S. Citizens, Nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.

Clarification from the agency

Applications will be accepted from all U.S. Citizens or Nationals. The vacancy announcement open period will have multiple cut-off dates when applications will be reviewed for consideration by the Hiring Manager: 1st cutoff: January 21, 2024; 2nd cutoff: March 12, 2024; 3rd cutoff: May 1, 2024; 4th cutoff: June 24, 2024

Still earning your degree? No problem! We love hiring soon-to-be grads. If you're a student who plans to complete your qualifying education within 9 months, you can still submit your application right now. We'll verify you successfully completed your degree before your start date. Patent examiners may choose to perform their duties throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

A patent examiner (PE) reviews applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions. Patents give inventors the right to exclude others from making or selling their inventions for a limited time. As a U.S. patent examiner, you will handle these basic patent examining functions:

As a patent examiner, you will spend your time:

  • Searching prior art using specialized technology systems to ensure that an invention is new and unique. Prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public about an invention before a given date including related patents, published articles and public demonstrations.
  • Reviewing patent applications for potentially new inventions and innovations to ensure they meet the agency's requirements.
  • Writing legal office actions on patentability and respond to patent applications.

Applicants should familiarize themselves and must be able to comply with the relevant conflict of interest laws and standards of ethical conduct for employees of the executive branch regarding possible conflicts of interest in connection with their potential area of examination as seen here : https://www.justice.gov/jmd/ethics/principles-ethical-conduct Attorney-applicants must also be able to comply with the relevant rules of professional conduct regarding any possible professional responsibility conflicts in connection with their applications. In particular, please notify the USPTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline at [email protected] if you currently represent clients before the USPTO and/or you have a family member who is representing clients or adjudicating matters in which this Office is involved so that we can evaluate any potential conflict of interest or disqualification issue that may need to be addressed under those circumstances. You may be required to file a confidential financial disclosure report, OGE 450, within 30 days of assuming the position and annually thereafter, and will be required to complete ethics orientation within three months of appointment.


Conditions of employment.

  • Applicants will only be accepted from United States Citizens and Nationals.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related competencies.
  • You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
  • If selected, you may be required to complete a one year probationary period.
  • You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.
  • You must be suitable for Federal Employment


BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: A. At least a bachelor's degree in physics, or a related degree that included at least 24 semester hours of physics.

B. A combination of education and experience - coursework equivalent to a major in physics totaling at least 24 semester hours, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

In either A or B above, the courses must have included a fundamental course in general physics and, in addition, courses in any two of the following: electricity and magnetism, heat, light, mechanics, modern physics, and sound.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


GS-7: A) Superior Academic Achievement (SAA). This can be defined by one of the following:

1) Class standing-Upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the "School of Engineering and Applied Science" or "College of Science and Technology" based on completed courses.

2) Grade point average (GPA) as recorded on the final transcript-

i) 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on the official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or

ii) 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum. The GPA is rounded to one decimal place. (2.95 = 3.0 and 2.94 = 2.9). The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine the GPA.

3) Honor Society membership--Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society. Click here for a list of qualified honor societies.

B) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying basic physics and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc. OR C) Have at least one year of graduate level education from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements . If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study. OR D) Have less than the full amount of graduate education as described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "B" above, but have a combination "B" and "C" above. GS-9: A) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-7 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying intermediate physics and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc. OR B) Have a combination of education and experience. Possess at least a bachelor's degree in Physics AND have experience applying physics principles and theories in the Physics field. OR C) Have at least two years of graduate level education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements . If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study. OR D) Have less than the full amount of education described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "A" above, but have a combination of the type of graduate education described in "C" above and experience described in "A" above.

If this position requires proof of higher education, or you are substituting education for experience, you must submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. Please refer to http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp for more information. You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of coursework and degree. A listing of services that can perform this evaluation is available at the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration. NOTE: Only education and experience acquired before the filing deadline will be considered. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Additional information

If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information. This is a Bargaining Unit position and represented by Patent Office Professional Association (POPA) This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of "moderate". Background Investigation - If selected for this position, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306), which includes a fingerprint and credit check, to determine your suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation. The USPTO participates in E-Verify . For more information on E-Verify, please visit the Department of Homeland Security Website . All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice. Relocation Expenses are not authorized and will not be paid. CTAP and ICTAP candidates will be eligible for selection priority if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a "well qualified" rating of 85 out of 100. Information about CTAP and ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management's Career Transition Resources website at: OPM CTAP/ICTAP . CTAP/ICTAP documentation requirements are listed in the 'Required Documents' section of this announcement. More than one selection may be made from this announcement if additional identical vacancies in the same title, series, grade, and unit occur within 90 days from the date the certificate was issued. All application materials become the property of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. USPTO Job Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should request accommodation(s) from the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/accommodation . The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. If you believe that you have been discriminated against and would like to file an EEO complaint, you must do so within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Claims of employment discrimination must be submitted to the attention of the USPTO's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity via email ( [email protected] ) or phone (571-272-8292).

A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new window Learn more about federal benefits .

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Written Communication

As a new or existing federal employee, you and your family may have access to a range of benefits. Your benefits depend on the type of position you have - whether you're a permanent, part-time, temporary or an intermittent employee. You may be eligible for the following benefits, however, check with your agency to make sure you're eligible under their policies.

A complete application consists of: 1. A resume or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications; optional cover letter: Your resume should indicate your citizenship and should list your educational and work experience including titles, salary, employment dates, duties, experience and how it relates to the specialized experience in the job announcement. 2. Transcripts : You MUST submit copies of your college transcripts for verification of the education requirements. Unofficial copies are accepted, however, if selected you will be required to furnish official transcripts. It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above educational requirement. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration. (For Individual Occupational Requirements and/or Substitution of Education for specialized experience. Supporting Documents: 1. Veterans' Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility, you will be asked to submit a copy of your DD-214 containing your discharge disposition, dates of service, and rank. If you are a preference eligible claiming a service connected disability of 10 percent or more, you will be asked to submit documentation (i.e. a letter dated 1991 or later from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces) certifying to the veteran's present receipt of compensation. Veterans must include dates of military service within the automated application process, and submit a copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214. For more information, please visit Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans . 2. Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) documents - CTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area; a Certificate of Expected Separation (CES); or certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation (this could be a position abolishment letter. a notice of eligibility for discontinued service retirement. or similar notice); 2. A copy of your SF-50 .. Notification of Personnel Action", noting current position, grade/band level, and duty location; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your bureau/operating unit that shows your current promotion potential. ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination, certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a work-related compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement. 2. A copy of your SF-50 "Notification of Personnel Action", documenting your RIF separation, noting your position, grade/band level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL, etc.; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential You can upload your documents when you register or update your information on the Dept. of Commerce site which you access through the USAJobs site. Your application and all required documents must be received by 11:59 pm ET on the closing date of this job announcement. NOTE: The preceding documents requirement are based on job requirements and individual applicant eligibility. Not all documents are applicable to all applicants; if you are unsure which documents apply to you, contact the HR Specialist listed on this announcement.

You MUST apply online. If you experience difficulties with the application process or do not have access to a computer, please contact the HR Specialist listed as the point of contact before the closing date of this job announcement. If you are a new user to the USAJobs Site and have never registered for an account; you will first need to create an account profile with your basic contact information and a resume to begin applying. You must be a registered USAJobs user AND you must be signed-in to your account in order to apply for this position. For help setting up an account or for general help using USAJobs, go to USAJobs Help Page . Once you have gathered all of the required information and are ready to begin the application process, click the "APPLY" button at the right side of the page. You will then be directed away from USAJobs to the Department of Commerce application site for USPTO. You must click "Submit" at the end of the application process to send your application for consideration. To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at http://www.usajobs.gov/ and click on "Applications." Click on the position title, then select "Update Application." If you experience any difficulties with the application site, help is available! OPM has a Help feature on each page. Use this option when you need assistance. All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJobs "Saved Documents" feature. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as information that can be traced back to a specific individual and potentially compromise their security or privacy. Examples of PII include: date of birth, Social Security Number, and place of birth. Please ensure that you have removed all Personally Identifiable Information from all documents prior to submitting or uploading your applications material.

Agency contact information

Glenda roberts-parker.


[email protected]

You will receive a notice generated by the USAJobs System when you have successfully submitted your application. You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at http://usajobs.gov/ and clicking on "Track Your Online Application." The four points of notification are: 1. Application Received or Application Incomplete; 2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Requirement Not Met; 3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Eligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and 4. Selected or Not Selected After all application packages have been received, we will review your application and transcript(s) (if you are qualifying based on education) to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements. We will evaluate each applicant who meets the basic qualifications on the information provided and you may be contacted for follow-up supplemental documentation. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide any supplemental documents or information requested by the Office of Human Resources within the allocated timeframes. You will be required to submit official documentation prior to appointment. The agency will then verify the information provided on your application (i.e., degree, veterans' preference, disability, etc.).You can check the status of your application by logging into USAJOBS . You may also sign up to receive automatic emails anytime the status of your application has changed by logging into your USAJobs Account, editing your profile and changing the "Notification Settings" to indicate that you want to be notified by email when the status changes. Information regarding the status of your application should be updated in the system within 2 weeks after the closing date of this job announcement.

The Federal hiring process is set up to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy
  • Criminal history inquiries
  • Reasonable accommodation policy
  • Financial suitability
  • Selective Service
  • New employee probationary period
  • Signature and false statements
  • Privacy Act
  • Social security number request

Required Documents

How to apply, fair & transparent.

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov . For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/job/758063800 . Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.

Please wait while map is being generated.

Learn more about

Patent and Trademark Office

Yearning for a job that harnesses the power of innovation, yet provides work/life balance, a diverse workplace culture, and a mission that matters? As a Patent Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you will work with the largest Intellectual Property Rights entity in the nation. You'll support economic growth and positioning America as one of the world's top innovators. You'll gain experience, training and mentorship you won't get anywhere else. You'll conduct research and interact with applicants who are working on inventive modern breakthroughs. You'll have access to alternative, flexible schedules, telework, bonuses and paid overtime. That's why the USPTO is considered a top federal workplace! When you apply to be a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you can be sure that you're pursuing a career that offers work-life balance, career satisfaction, and advancement opportunities. As America's Innovation Agency, the USPTO has been serving the economic interests of America for more than 200 years. We are responsible for granting US intellectual property rights for patents and trademarks. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and has over 13,000 employees who can choose to work from home nationwide. For more information about the USPTO, please visit the USPTO Jobs website

Visit our careers page

Learn more about what it's like to work at Patent and Trademark Office, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.


Your session is about to expire!

Your USAJOBS session will expire due to inactivity in eight minutes. Any unsaved data will be lost if you allow the session to expire. Click the button below to continue your session.

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS. A lock ( Lock Locked padlock ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies (Hydrogen INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity

May 6, 2024

Dear Colleague:

Fostering the growth of a globally competitive and diverse research workforce and advancing the scientific and innovation skills of U.S. students are strategic objectives of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Supporting the development of a skilled workforce in energy efficiency and renewable energy is a strategic objective of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The NSF and DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) have established a partnership to support internship and training opportunities to meet these strategic objectives with a focus on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. A new generation of skilled workforce is needed to drive research and development of hydrogen production, delivery, infrastructure, storage, fuel cells, and multiple end uses across transportation, industrial, and stationary power applications. For more information on DOE-EERE's priorities for hydrogen energy research, please see the DOE's Hydrogen Program Areas and the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy Roadmap .

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) describes this unique partnership with DOE EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) and is aligned with and conforms with the NSF INTERN opportunity described in the Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity . This DCL is referred to as the Hydrogen INTERN DCL.


NSF will consider supplemental funding requests in the broad area of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies that enable PIs (or Co-PIs) to request supplemental support of up to $55,000 and six months for graduate students supported on active NSF grants with the following goals:

  • To provide graduate students with the opportunity to augment their research assistantships or NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) fellowships with research internship activities and training opportunities that will complement their academic research training.
  • To allow graduate students to pursue new activities aimed at acquiring professional development experience that will enhance their preparation for multiple career pathways after graduation.
  • To encourage the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talent in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


The PI/co-PI of an active NSF award may request supplemental funding for one or more graduate students to gain knowledge, skills, training, and experiences in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and their application areas.

Internship hosts include, but are not limited to:

  • Private sector companies, laboratories, or industry research and development groups.
  • Start-up businesses such as, but not limited to, those funded through the NSF's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
  • Department of Energy Laboratories, other government agencies (all levels), and National Laboratories.
  • Museums, science centers, and other informal learning settings that educate the public.
  • Policy think-tanks.
  • Non-profit organizations.

Prior to submission, PIs are encouraged to discuss possible INTERN supplements with the cognizant NSF Program Director Points of Contact listed in this DCL to ensure the proposed internship and its topic are a good fit for this DCL. It is expected that the graduate student and the PI on the NSF grant will work together to identify experiences that add the most educational value for the graduate student through activities that are not already available at the student's academic institution. Further, it is expected that the internship will be research-focused and will be on-site at the host organization unless a specific exception to this is granted by the cognizant Program Director due to extenuating circumstances.


To be eligible for this opportunity, graduate students must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate program (master's or doctoral) prior to commencement of the proposed INTERN activity and be making satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree.


Information about requesting supplemental support is contained in the NSF PAPPG ), Chapter VI.E.5. In addition to the PAPPG requirements for supplemental support, the following materials must be included.

  • A two-page summary that describes the internship
  • A one-page personal statement from the graduate student describing career goals, accomplishments, and how the activity will better prepare the individual to enter the workforce.
  • Research summary to include contribution(s) to research discipline
  • Institution(s)
  • Year of study (1st year, 2nd year, etc.)
  • Completed coursework
  • Employment and volunteer/outreach history
  • Publications (accepted only)
  • Other information relevant to the proposed internship
  • A letter of collaboration from an authorized official at the host organization that describes the internship opportunity and mentoring the student will experience during the internship. The letter should include a statement confirming that neither the graduate student nor the PI has a financial interest in the organization hosting the internship.
  • An endorsement letter from the PI that confirms that the student meets the eligibility requirements specified in this DCL. The letter must describe how the proposed internship activity will contribute to the student's graduate education experience and how it may impact time to degree.
  • The NSF recipient and Host Organization must agree in advance as to how intellectual property (IP) rights will be handled. A signed agreement on IP (including publication and patent rights) must be submitted either as a supplementary document or, via email to the cognizant Program Director after submission of the supplementary funding request and prior to the award of the supplemental funding. NSF is responsible neither for the agreement reached nor the IP information exchanged between the NSF recipient and Host Organization.
  • A budget and budget justification.


The total amount of funding requested must not exceed $55,000 per student per six-month period. NSF plans to fund up to approximately 10 or more supplements in each fiscal year starting with FY 2024, depending on availability of funds.


Funds may be used to support travel, tuition and fees, health insurance, additional stipend, and temporary relocation costs for the graduate student. Additional stipends are not allowed for GRFP fellows "on tenure" (currently receiving a GRFP stipend), but a stipend will be considered for fellows "on reserve" (not currently receiving a GRFP stipend) equal to the monthly rate of the GRFP stipend. Up to $2,500 may be used for the PI or the graduate research fellow's advisor to travel to work with the host organization in co-mentoring the student during the internship. Up to $2,500 may be used for materials and supplies to support the student during the internship. Travel costs must be allocated in the budget request for the graduate student to travel once to Washington DC, to present the outcomes of the INTERN project at the DOE's Annual Merit Review meeting. The recipient is permitted to request indirect costs in accordance with their approved/negotiated indirect cost rate. The total requested budget cannot exceed the limits listed under the "Supplement funding amount" section above. Note: Spousal and dependent travel are not supported.


The supplement funding will provide up to six months of support for an internship. Up to two supplemental funding requests may be submitted on a grant per student. This would allow the student up to two internship periods of up to six months each (i.e., a maximum of 12 months per student).

Supplemental funding requests may be submitted at any time with a target date of June 15 for Fiscal Year 2024 and April 15 for future Fiscal Years.


Requests for supplemental funding must be submitted electronically via Research.gov. A PI or co-PI on an NSF award must contact his/her cognizant program director prior to submission. GRFP INTERN supplement requests are submitted by the GRFP PI, not by the GRFP fellow or the fellow's research advisor. Requests for supplemental funding submitted in response to this DCL will be reviewed internally by NSF Program Officers. All supplements are subject to (a) the availability of funds, and (b) merit review of the supplemental funding request.


Intellectual Property Rights: Internships under this DCL are considered equivalent to traineeships. The National Science Foundation claims no rights to any inventions or writings that might result from its traineeship awards. However, trainees should be aware that NSF, another Federal agency, or some private party may acquire such rights through other support for particular research. Also, trainees should note their obligation to include an Acknowledgment and Disclaimer in any publication.


Recipients are required to have a policy or code of conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault. The recipient should work with the Host Organization to ensure that the Host Organization also has a policy or code of conduct that addresses sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault including reporting and complaint procedures and to confirm that such policy both covers and protects INTERN students interacting with the Host Organization. The recipient should also coordinate with the Host Organization to provide orientation to graduate students to cover expectations of behavior to ensure a safe and respectful environment, and to review the recipient and host organization's policy or code of conduct addressing sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, and sexual assault, including reporting and complaint procedures. For additional information, see the NSF policies at https://new.nsf.gov/stopping-harassment .

Susan Marqusee, Assistant Director Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)

Dilma Da Silva, Acting Assistant Director Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE)

James L. Moore III, Assistant Director Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EDU)

Susan Margulies, Assistant Director Directorate for Engineering (ENG)

Alexandra Isern, Assistant Director Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)

C. Denise Caldwell, Acting Assistant Director Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)

Alicia Knoedler, Office Head Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Kendra Sharp, Office Head Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)

Kaye Husbands Fealing, Assistant Director Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

Erwin Gianchandani, Assistant Director Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnership (TIP)


  1. Cover Letter for PhD Application: Example From a PhD Student

    Formal salutation. In an official letter like this one, you should address the reader in a professional and formal way. If you know who'll be reading your cover letter, go with Dear Dr. [Surname] or Dear Professor [Surname]. If you don't, go with Dear Sir/Madam. The specific PhD program or position.

  2. How To Write a PhD Cover Letter (With Template)

    Write the introduction. Once you finish the body of the cover letter, write the introduction. The introduction should clearly state what you're applying to. You may also use this space to briefly mention an ambition or goal for the future. 5. Highlight your key strengths and experiences in the first body paragraph.

  3. How to Write a Cover Letter for PhD Applications

    A cover letter should be addressed to a named person i.e. "Dear Professor Smith". For a PhD application, this will usually be the PhD supervisor, but may be a specific person in charge of recruitment. If you are still unsure who to address the cover letter to, it should be directed to the Head of Department.

  4. How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips)

    Example of a physics major cover letter Here's an example of a physics major cover letter you can use to create your own: Brenda Witherspoon (574) 842-3512 [email protected] Dear Dr. Brandon Clark, I believe I'm an ideal fit for the physicist position at Major Research Institute. As a senior physics major at Pine Oak University, I am seeking an opportunity to apply the extensive knowledge ...

  5. PDF Resumes & Cover Letters for Student PhD Students Graduate

    No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the express written permission of the Harvard University Faculty of Arts & Sciences Mignone Center for Career Success. 4/23. Mignone Center for Career Success Harvard University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences Cambridge, MA 02138 Phone: (617) 495-2595 careerservices.fas.harvard.edu.

  6. 3 PHD Application cover letter examples [Get the job]

    This will give your cover letter a slick appearance and also give the recruiter all of the necessary contact information they need to get in touch with you. The information to add should include: A friendly sign off - e.g. "Kindest regards". Your full name. Phone number (one you can answer quickly)

  7. Words of Advice on Applying to Physics PhD Programs

    The biggest recommendation I give students is to show us (the graduate committee) your strengths through a narrative. Many students have a wide variety of strengths, and it is hard to provide such a diverse group with a prompt that effectively encompasses this range of strengths. Good letters provide a compelling narrative and highlight the ...

  8. graduate admissions

    Cover letter is an integral part of your application. ... I am in Physics, now doing a PhD in France and a successful candidate in terms of International PhD admissions. I am strongly opposed to the idea of asking if your profile is good or not to a second person. It gets worse if you are going to ask this to your potential supervisor.

  9. Harvard Griffin GSAS PhD Resume & Cover Letter Guide

    Share This: Share Harvard Griffin GSAS PhD Resume & Cover Letter Guide on Facebook Share Harvard Griffin GSAS PhD Resume & Cover Letter Guide on LinkedIn Share Harvard Griffin GSAS PhD Resume & Cover Letter Guide on X; Copy Link; When applying to most non-research-oriented, non-academic jobs, you will want to use a resume instead of a CV. ...

  10. Writing an Academic Cover Letter for a PhD Application

    Try to match the font size, type, line spacing and margin size to your academic CV for neat and consistent presentation. Your cover letter should be addressed to the PhD supervisor, starting with a "Dear [academic title] [surname]", for example, "Dear Professor Williams". Tip: Make sure to get the title of the supervisor correct.

  11. How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)

    Cover letters typically take the following structure: Introduction (1st paragraph) State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional introduction. ... Example: As a graduate student in MIT's Technology and Policy Program, I spend every day at the cutting edge of the energy sector. In my capacity as an ...

  12. How To Write a Physics Major Cover Letter (With Tips)

    Writing a cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers. Before you graduate with a physics degree, it can be helpful to learn how to communicate your qualifications so you can show hiring managers you're an ideal fit for your desired career.

  13. How to Write a PhD Motivation Letter

    A strong motivation letter for PhD applications will include: A concise introduction stating which programme you are applying for, Your academic background and professional work experience, Any key skills you possess and what makes you the ideal candidate, Your interest and motivation for applying, Concluding remarks and thanks.

  14. Cover Letter & Resume Tips

    Resume Tips. Create document in Microsoft Word. Single page (8.5 inch x 11 inch paper) - Employers take roughly 1 -minute to scan through a resume. Therefore, it is important to keep your resume to a single one- sided page. Font Style should be Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Garamond or Tahoma. Remember to use one font style throughout resume.

  15. PhD Cover Letter: PhD Application Example & How-To

    Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you're applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time. Create your cover letter now. 2. Open the PhD cover letter with your motivation.

  16. Graduate Admissions » MIT Physics

    1. Online Application and Application Fee. MIT Graduate Admissions Online Graduate Application; Application Fee: $75 NOTE: Applicants who feel that this fee may prevent them from applying should send a short email to [email protected] to describe their general reasons for requesting a waiver. We will follow up with information about how to apply for a formal 'application fee waiver'.

  17. Cover Letter for PhD Application

    Make your cover letter personal, remarkable (i.e., stands out from other cover letters), specific to you and specific to the position at hand. Be enthusiastic. Be specific. Show that you've put thought into the position and why you are applying. Relate your specific skill sets and previous experience to the programme you are applying for.

  18. Sample of Motivation Letter for PhD in Physics: Crafting a Compelling

    Sample motivation letter for PhD in Physics. Dear Members of the Graduate Admissions Committee, I am writing to express my strong interest in the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Physics at Princeton University. With great admiration for Princeton's rich scientific legacy, renowned faculty, and cutting-edge research opportunities, I am ...

  19. Physics Graduate CV example + guide [Get hired]

    Physics Graduate CV example. Andrew Fennell. Whether you want to be a data analyst, engineer, researcher or even a teacher, your physics degree can open you up to a lot of exciting job opportunities. That being said, graduate roles can be competitive, so you need to be able to showcase your skills and everything you've learnt during your time ...

  20. PDF University of Cambridge

    University of Cambridge

  21. cover letter

    XXX. YULIS 9 / 17 1. Oct 22, 2014 #2. I am interested i interest ## in applying for the graduate program at your institution and I'd like i like ## to inquire about the availability of any positions at your Research Group. In February 2015, I'll get the Master degree supervised by Prof XXX in the Physics Department of XXX University, XXX.

  22. PhD Physics

    PhD Physics Requirements. We offer graduate study leading to the PhD in Physics. Course Requirements. Must take all courses as a letter grade and receive a B or better. Core Courses. Physics 205: Classical Mechanics; ... Must take all electives as a letter grade and receive a B or better. Theoretical physics students must complete a minimum of ...

  23. CV and Cover letter samples

    (Antonia's CV and cover letter) US applications. Magdalena Becker is a research assistant studying towards a PhD in Physics and applied for a graduate job. (Magdalena's CV and cover letter) Paul Straub is a third-year student of high school education and applied for an Assistant Teacher internship. (Paul's CV and cover letter) Other countries


    A resume or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications; optional cover letter: Your resume should indicate your citizenship and should list your educational and work experience including titles, salary, employment dates, duties, experience and how it relates to the specialized experience in the job announcement.

  25. Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate

    A letter of collaboration from an authorized official at the host organization that describes the internship opportunity and mentoring the student will experience during the internship. The letter should include a statement confirming that neither the graduate student nor the PI has a financial interest in the organization hosting the internship.