nanomaterials research

Ph.D. Program in Physics

The physics graduate program at Bryn Mawr College offers graduate students academic excellence, exciting research opportunities, and competitive financial support in a distinctive environment where shared intellectual work thrives in a liberal arts college setting. Our small size allows students and faculty members to work together closely and for formal graduate course work to be handled in small tutorials, which can be tailored to the needs of the students.

While graduate education is open to both men and women, the culture of the department is one that values and respects women as physicists and creates opportunities for women (and all students) to achieve at the highest levels, with role models at all levels. The program’s unique position in a women’s college provides an informed and thoughtful perspective in this regard. All students will leave the program with a heightened sensitivity to, and knowledge of, the importance of training women scientists.

Areas of Research

We offer graduate education towards a Ph.D. degree in experimental and theoretical research specialties including ultracold atoms, plasma physics and turbulence, nanoscience and spintronics, biophysics and pattern formation, and quantum field theory and string theory.

Strong Community

There are also several departmental events throughout the year, bringing together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate majors and creating a genuine sense of community in the department. The Physics Journal Club is a unique departmental tradition bringing graduate students and faculty members together to discuss cutting-edge research. Students and faculty are required to select and lead a discussion on a recently published journal paper from outside of their own research field. In this way, all participants are on a level playing field allowing the group to focus on inquisitiveness and learning. Students are also required to present orally their own research, together with undergraduate students, at the end of summer and once each semester.

In addition to the lively atmosphere in the physics department, the Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics sponsors many cross-disciplinary events for students. Graduate students in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics convene an interdisciplinary Journal Club in which they discuss the latest in research developments in the STEM fields, and they organize a series of Professional Development Workshops at which faculty members share career advice on a range of topics. An annual Research Symposium for graduate students at Bryn Mawr allows students to present their ongoing work with the larger community.


Bryn Mawr College is located about 15 miles west of Philadelphia in a suburban setting with excellent public transportation to the city. There is a wide variety of cultural and recreational opportunities available both in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. The entire geographic region is rich in historic sites. Outdoor enthusiasts will find numerous state parks and forests to visit and the popular New Jersey and Delaware beaches are only one to two hours away by car.

Xiao Wang (Ph.D. '20) on Being a Physics Graduate Student here

Xiao and her advisor Professor Xuemei May Cheng published about the topological spin memory effect in Phys. Rev. Materials as Editor's Suggestion in 2022.

Physics Graduate Program in the Spotlight