Is financial support available for graduate students in physics?

In general, we do not admit students without offering financial support as well. The only exceptions are students who have already arranged for third-party funding, such as government fellowships.

Financial support for first-year students usually takes the form of a teaching assistantship. This provides a stipend of approximately $2220 per month during the 9-month academic year (for 2022-2023) and includes a tuition waiver. Tuition is not deducted from your stipend, and the only money you owe the University are student fees, approximately $1300 per semester assuming a full course load (15 credits).

In some cases research assistantships are offered to incoming students, and they are generally on the same terms (except that they involve working in a research group, rather than teaching undergraduates). Teaching  and research assistantships are nominally 20 hour per week.

Additionally, the Graduate School provides a health insurance contribution to help offset the cost of insurance to graduate assistants. See this link for additional information:

Can I send my letters of recommendation to the department via mail or email?

No, letters of recommendation cannot come directly from the applicant. They must be submitted by the recommender. If you need the email requesting a recommendation letter re-sent to your reference or if you need to change a reference’s email address please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator at with this request.

I submitted an application. Have you received it? When will you come to a decision?

If we have received your completed preliminary application you should receive an acknowledgment through e-mail; note that this may take several weeks. If several weeks have passed and you have not heard from us, then please send an email to the graduate program coordinator at

The second question is trickier. We offer admissions on a “rolling” basis. What this means is that at any given meeting of the graduate admissions committee, we consider all complete applications that are on file and decide to accept, decline, or defer the application. The decision depends on many factors, not just the quality of an individual application, but also the number of students that have already accepted our offers of admission, the number that have received offers from us but have not yet made up their minds, the number of applications received, the time of year, the number of teaching assistantships we expect will be available, and so forth.

I’m interested in visiting the department, what should I do?

We’re always delighted to welcome visitors. If you would like to make any arrangements to meet with the faculty and graduate students during your visit, please contact our graduate program coordinator at in advance so these meetings can be scheduled.

We feel that it is difficult to make an informed choice of graduate program without actually visiting the departments under consideration. Consequently, if you are offered admission and if you reside in the continental US, you may be offered an expenses-paid trip to Fort Collins.

I have received an offer of admission from University X and have still not heard definite word on my application to Colorado State. What should I do?

In this case (and in many others of similar character) the best thing you can do is to inform us promptly. In particular, contact graduate program coordinator at It may be possible for the admissions committee to come to an accelerated decision, to make a competing offer, and so forth, but only if we know about your situation.

I’ve been admitted to Colorado State in the Fall, but I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do there in the summer, before classes start?

Research appointments during the summer prior to enrollment are common. They offer an excellent opportunity to settle into Fort Collins and our department prior to the always-hectic beginning of the Fall semester.

If there is a particular research group you would like to work with you could contact the relevant faculty member directly and inquire; if you’re just interested in finding out what might be available, contact the graduate program coordinator at