Research at UNLV
In the last decade, research programs at UNLV have been emphasized and strengthened. UNLV is currently designated by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Very High Research Activity (R1) University. In the last several years, UNLV has hired numerous new faculty members and vigorously expanded its research programs in the sciences by adding new state-of-the-art facilities and increasing the number of available degree programs.
Our graduate program offers masters and doctoral degrees in both physics and astronomy; the physics MS requires a research thesis, while the astronomy MS can be course based. Before considering our department as a possible place to pursue an advanced degree, it is best to explore our faculty's research interests to determine if they overlap with your interests. Students interested in applying to the PhD program are advised to first contact faculty members to inquire about current project opportunities.
The PhD typically takes 5 years to complete, while the Master's degree usually requires two years. PhD students have two attempts to pass the PhD qualifying exam (offered every Spring semester). Master's students who intend to become physics PhD students can take the PhD qualifying exam without it counting against the two attempts. Astronomy PhD students have to pass an oral qualifying exam in addition to a written qualifying exam. See the degree requirements for more information.
While our physics graduate program is well established, our astronomy program is relatively new and its reputation continues to grow as our first generation of graduates depart UNLV to contribute to astrophysics in different parts of the world. Some of our physics PhD graduates have become faculty members at other institutions, while others have left academia and become successful medical physicists, software engineers, and industrial scientists, just to name a few examples.
Three baccalaureate degrees are offered by the department. The Bachelor of Science in Physics provides students with preparation for governmental or industrial positions or for graduate studies in physics or related areas. The Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics is designed to introduce the major branches of physics to those seeking double degrees and for those preparing for professions other than physics. The Bachelor of Science in Computational Physics is intended to train students with the state-of-the-art knowledge in physics and scientific computing for either professional positions or graduate studies in computational based fields.
Graduate assistantships, research assistantships, minority fellowships, and undergraduate research funding are available. Most graduate students are supported throughout the entire year by a variety of teaching and/or research assistantships and funding is continued throughout the graduate career of all graduate students in good standing. In addition, students are eligible to apply for summer positions at other facilities.
Students interested in a Graduate Assistantship may find instructions for applying here.
Learning in Las Vegas
The world famous Las Vegas Strip, with so much to experience, is just walking distance from campus. The constantly evolving Las Vegas Downtown is a unique scene, being home to many new startup companies under the auspices of the Downtown Project. There are numerous dining options near campus, and Las Vegas has a large Chinatown with many more.
In addition, Las Vegas is uniquely positioned within a few hours drive of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Death Valley and Zion National Park are only a couple hours away, while Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston, and Hoover Dam are within a one-hour drive of UNLV. The UNLV campus itself is very beautiful (it is in fact an arboretum). You can find more information on the UNLV website.