Our Program

Our graduate program is home to 35 to 40 graduate students actively involved in our research and teaching mission as they pursue MS or PhD degrees. The average time to PhD in physics at USU is around 5 to 6 years. Graduate student research in our department spans a wide variety of disciplines within physics, including mathematical physics, gravitation and field theory, atmospheric and space physics, surface and materials physics and ultra-fast laser spectroscopy.

The PDRF will support graduate studies in the Physics Department with the Materials Physics Group to study areas related to their work on electron emission and electron transport in disordered dielectric materials with applications to spacecraft charging, electric power transmission, plasma systems and radiation damage. This employs measurements of pulsed electro-acoustics, electron and photoyields, conductivity, electro-static discharge, and cathode-luminescence. 

PDRF Perks
  • Four-year fellowship
  • $10,000 scholarship (each year for four years)
  • $15,000 annual departmental assistantship (for duration of degree)
  • Full-tuition award (each year for four years)
  • Health insurance
  • Enrollment in Research Certification
  • Exclusive socials, special guests, and trainings
  • One-on-one support from the Associate Vice President

Application Requirements
  • Meet all School of Graduate Studies requirements for general admission to USU
  • Have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Apply to the Ph.D. program by January 15, 2022 to be eligible for PDRF

Please contact Karalee Ransom at with your admissions questions.

Our Facilities

The Space Environment Effects Materials (SEEM) test facility is a leading research center for the study of space environment effects on aerospace materials. The group performs state-of-the-art, ground-based testing of electrical charging and electron transport properties of both conducting and insulating materials, emphasizing studies of electron emission, conductivity, luminescence, and electrostatic discharge.

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Our Faculty

JR Dennison is a Professor in the Physics Department.  He is recruiting a Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow to join the Materials Physics Group to study the effects of harsh space environments on spacecraft materials.

Phone: (435) 797-2936.