The University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division empowers students to answer fundamental questions in the physical and mathematical sciences and improve the world alongside leading University faculty. Explore our academic programs using the links below to discover a program that fits your academic and research goals.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics
The PhD program in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics provides students with the opportunity to work with faculty who are at the forefront of experimental, theoretical, and observational research in fields ranging from cosmology and astroparticle physics to exoplanet science.
The program couples research with coursework during the first two years leading to candidacy. Students have access to advanced observational and computational facilities as well as research opportunities enriched by our connections to the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the Enrico Fermi Institute, Argonne National Laboratory, and Fermilab.
Students in the PhD program in Biophysical Sciences design interdisciplinary research projects with two faculty advisors drawn from departments across the physical and biological sciences. The curriculum requires that students take courses alongside their peers in traditional programs. In their first year, students explore the current state of biophysical research, including an immersive practical course and multiple rotations.
The PhD program in the Department of Chemistry offers broad opportunities and flexibility for advanced study in catalysis, materials chemistry, chemical biology, polymers, biophysics, physical chemistry, chemical biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and theoretical chemistry.
Research is designed to encourage individuality, independence, and excellence and students have the option to fashion special programs of study and to work in interdisciplinary areas.
Computational and Applied Mathematics
The PhD program in Computational and Applied Mathematics trains students to confront data-centric problems in the natural and social sciences. Before beginning a thesis, students take courses in two tracks: an analytic/physical mathematics and modeling track, which includes functional analysis, PDE, and applied dynamical systems, and a computational track, which includes applied matrix computation, optimization, and machine learning.
The PhD program in the Department of Computer Science helps students build the skills to conduct research at the cutting edge of computer science, working with faculty to publish at leading conferences, develop new tools and approaches, and make bold new discoveries.
Students conduct innovative research in areas such as AI & machine learning, computing education, data science & databases, human computer interaction, programming languages, scientific & high performance computing, security & privacy, systems, architecture & networking, theory, and visual computing.
The PhD program in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences provides a venue for students to pursue research that address questions related to the past, current, and future evolution of the Earth and other planets. Opportunities include studies in the fields of mineral physics, geo- and cosmochemistry, oceanography, atmospheric dynamics, climate science, environmental science, geomicrobiology, and paleontology. Interdisciplinary research, which brings together multiple areas of study, are also encouraged.
The PhD program in the Department of Mathematics provides students with in-depth knowledge and rigorous training in all the subject areas of mathematics. A core feature is the first-year program, which helps bring students to the forefront of modern mathematics. Students work closely with faculty and each other and participate fully in both research and student-run seminars.
The PhD program in the Department of Physics offers the opportunity for students to pursue research in many areas of experimental and theoretical physics, including accelerator physics, astrophysics, atomic physics, biological physics, condensed matter physics, cosmology, general relativity, nuclear physics, and particle physics.
The PhD program in the Department of Statistics offers students the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research in a wide variety of fields, including biological, physical, and social sciences as well as computer science domains such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our program provides students with rigorous training in scientific computation, and in the theory, methodology, and applications of statistics.
Situated within the groundbreaking Data Science Institute, the Master of Science in Analytics (MScA) provides students with advanced analytical training to develop the ability to draw insights from big data and build automated artificial intelligence systems.
Offering full-time, part-time, and online options, the MScA program is highly applied in nature, integrating business strategy, project-based learning, simulations, case studies, and specific electives addressing the analytical needs of various industry sectors. MScA teaches skills that can be applied in almost any industry, and our graduates have gone on to work at Google, McKinsey, Argonne Labs, Goldman Sachs, Proctor & Gamble, and more.
Computational and Applied Mathematics
MCAM provides students with a solid foundation in modern computational and applied mathematics with coursework in areas such as physics-based modeling, data-based modeling, and scientific computing. Graduates will be prepared to pursue a PhD in CAM or other math-intensive applied sciences or to pursue a professional career in fields such as data analysis, scientific computing, imaging, or engineering.
Computational Analysis and Public Policy
MS-CAPP is a rigorous, two-year program offered jointly by the Harris School of Public Policy and the Department of Computer Science. The curriculum builds foundational knowledge of computer science, statistics, and public policy analysis. Students then go on to advanced coursework in econometrics, machine learning, big data methods, data visualization, and application development all while learning how to apply these skills in the policy realm.
MPCS offers a comprehensive and professionally-oriented computer science education that combines the foundations of computer science with the applied skills necessary for careers in technology. The MPCS has three programs of study, including a MS in Computer Science, a Pre-Doctoral MS in CS and a Joint MBA/MPCS program with the Booth School of Business. The MPCS is well suited for students interested in careers in software engineering, mobile computing, data analytics, and technology product management.
MSFM offers accelerated, integrated coursework that explores the deep-rooted relationship between theoretical and applied mathematics and the ever-evolving world of finance. The program equips students with a solid foundation in mathematics, which in combination with knowledge of computer science, economics, finance, and statistics, provides them with practical expertise that they can successfully apply to complicated financial models. Alumni go on to be leaders in the quantitative and risk management sectors.
The Master’s Program in Statistics provides students with in-depth knowledge on the fundamental theory of statistics and its application. The program is designed for those who want to prepare for doctoral study or work in any field in which statistics or data science is used intensively. The program is distinguished by the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth through a Master’s paper.
The Physical Sciences Collegiate Division offers several programs of study. If you are interested in undergraduate study, please visit College Admissions for more information.