APS Bridge Program

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Visit Website

Program Contact:
Sheila Kannappan
Associate Chair for Diversity
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

Sheila Kannappan

The Physics & Astronomy Department at UNC Chapel Hill offers a traditional PhD program with a commitment to improving student success through multi-level mentoring, flexible study plans, and a welcoming community. UNC is in the top ten nationally in federal research funding and all physics & astronomy graduate students who maintain satisfactory progress receive RA, TA, or fellowship support. The university's Initiative for Minority Excellence provides additional travel funding, social events, and professional development opportunities. The department has recently strengthened its commitment to diversity with the establishment of an Associate Chair for Diversity as well as both faculty and graduate student diversity liaisons.

Underrepresented student percentages in the department reflect national averages, but recent improvements in both faculty diversity (including 2 Latino and 7 female faculty among 33 tenured or tenure-track professors) and graduate admissions (redesigned to embrace multiple paths to excellence) indicate the department's positive trajectory.

UNC enjoys unusually abundant telescope access (SOAR, SALT, Skynet, and Evryscope) and multiple astronomical instrumentation labs, a broad network of interdisciplinary nano/materials science and biomedical imaging research labs, one of the premier university-based nuclear physics labs in the nation (TUNL), and superb computational facilities enabling advanced modeling, visualization, and numerical simulation with applications from astro/biophysical fluid dynamics to string theory. The department is also active in educational research and offers training in modern evidence-based teaching methods as part of the graduate curriculum, along with many informal opportunities for public outreach. UNC and nearby Duke and NC State surround the "Research Triangle," one of the country's most actively growing high-tech industry regions, yet Chapel Hill remains an affordable and beautiful place to live, a short drive from both the mountains and the sea.