Welcome to Physics at UC Merced

Graduate Students can pursue a Ph.D. in physics on a wide range of exciting research topics: from traditional fields such as condensed matter and atomic and molecular physics to multidisciplinary subjects such as solar energy science, nanoscience, soft matter and biophysics.

Undergraduate physics majors all have the opportunity to carry out original research with a member of our faculty and take classes in a variety of traditional and cutting edge subjects.


As the first new American research university of the 21st century, UC Merced features a unique academic structure that removes barriers to interdisciplinary research common in traditional departments and fosters strong ties with physical sciences research to life sciences, materials science and engineering.

Access to world class resources

As the 10th campus of the University of California, UC Merced draws on the outstanding resources of the UC system, a world renowned center for research and education. The research groups in this graduate group have access to major facilities, such as state of the art laser systems, an electron microscopy facility, a nanofabrication facility and NMR on campus. Other large facilities, such as synchrotron light sources, located at Stanford and Berkeley labs, are within two hours of driving distances. Students also have access to the extensive library holdings and journal subscriptions of the UC system.

A smaller collegial community

Our young, diverse group of faculty is enthusiastic, driven and invested in student success. The faculty at UC Merced is large enough to offer rigorous and comprehensive training but our group is small enough that students receive a lot of personal attention. The academic structure and physical proximity also allow collaborative opportunities with other research groups.


Recent Departmental Highlights

  • Aug 2014 - Congratulations to Andrea Rodarte for successfully passing her PhD defense

  • July 2014 - Prof Ajay Gopinathan selected as a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation and Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation

  • Mar 2014 - Congratulations to Robby Puccinelli for winning the SNS Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and the UCM Research Week Best Poster Award

Faculty Research Quick Links


We hope you find the information you are looking for on these pages. If you can't, or you have a question, please contact us.