Physics and Astronomy

Since its first Ph.D. was awarded in 1920, Rice University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has grown to provide a graduate program offering students a wide variety of research options. Our small classes mean students will receive individual attention as they progress through their research and thesis writing. Students in our program enjoy the benefits of a world-class research university, and reap the rewards of our Houston location, with its proximity to NASA, and several other research institutes and organizations.

For more information, please visit the Department of Physics and Astronomy website.Download the graduate study brochure and graduate program handbook.

Degrees Offered:


Graduate students receive fellowships for their first academic year. (For 2017–18, this provides a stipend of $22,875 for nine months and a scholarship to cover full tuition.) At the end of the first academic year, students affiliate with a research group and are supported at a comparable level by faculty research grants, contracts or external fellowships on a 12-month basis. 

Areas of Research

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Space Plasma and Solar Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy Contact Information

Professor Douglas Natelson, Chair
201 Brockman Hall
Phone: 713-348-4938
Fax: 713-348-4150