Graduate Program

The graduate program consists of courses in astronomy and original research conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor. During the first academic year, students generally concentrate on foundation coursework; a research area is usually chosen during the second year. Original research, the most important part of the graduate program, occupies much of the student’s time after the first year.

Formal admission to PhD candidacy is based on satisfactory performance in coursework and on the Comprehensive Examination, which is administered to ensure that students have mastered intermediate physics and astronomy.

Graduate students are supported through University Fellowships or Department of Astronomy teaching fellowships and research fellowships. The normal procedure is for students to receive a fellowship in the first year or two and to be supported with research fellowships when working closely with individual faculty members on their research.

GRS Master’s Degree Requirements / GRS MA in Astronomy

GRS PhD Degree Requirements / GRS PhD in Astronomy


Students seeking approval of changes to Astronomy Department rules and procedures related to the MA and PhD programs should fetch and complete the following petition form to request such changes. The completed petition form should be forwarded electronically to the student’s Faculty Advisor, or to the Director of Graduate Studies. Forms for petitioning changes to Graduate School Rules are to be found on the GRS site, and are not covered by the Astronomy Department petition form.