Graduate Admissions and Retention Research Project

This project focuses on holistic practices to increase diversity and retention in physics graduate programs.

The team has studied current admission and retention across the United States, and offered targeted interventions and tools that aid programs in using more holistic measures. The goal of this project is to increase access to, and retention of, women and excluded identity groups in graduate physics programs.

Key Parts of the Project

Holistic Practice for Faculty

60-90 minute workshops and webinars have been created to train groups of faculty on various holistic practices including the legal landscape of admissions, how to use GRE-scores, how to create a rubric for making graduate admissions decisions, identifying non-cognitive qualities in graduate applications and induction practices.

Non-Cognitive Assessment

Pilot testing is in progress to establish validity and reliability of this new instrument.

Interviews with faculty and students

The goal of these interviews is to determine faculty and student attitudes towards a variety of recruitment, admissions, and retention practices.



Owens, L. Zwickl, B. M., Franklin, S. V. Miller, Casey W.  Identifying Qualities of Physics Graduate Students Valued by Facutly. 2019 PERC Proceedings [Provo, UT, July, 24-25, 2019]. 10.1119/perc. 2019 pr.Owens.

Miller, C. W., Zwickl, B. M., Posselt, J. R., Silvestrini, R. T., & Hodapp, T. (2019). Typical physics Ph.D. admissions criteria limit access to underrepresented groups but fail to predict doctoral completion. Science Advances, 5(1). doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat7550

Owens, L., Zwickl, B. M. Franklin, S. V. Miller, C. W.  Misaligned Visions for Improving Graduate Diversity: Student Characteristics vs. Systemic/Cultural Factors, 2018 PERC Proceedings [Washington, DC, August 1-2, 2018], edited by A. Traxler, Y. Cao, and S. Wolf, doi:10.1119/

Contact Us

Casey Miller

Senior Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs
Dean’s Office
College of Science

Scott Franklin

School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

Ben Zwickl

Associate Professor
School of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science