About Our Program

The Department of Astronomy has a thriving graduate program which prepares students for careers in astronomical research and education by emphasizing a broad understanding of physical systems and teaching the skills necessary to perform leading-edge research. Through our affiliated research units, the Center for Space Physics and the Institute for Astrophysical Research, our students, faculty, and researchers are at the forefront of observations, modeling, and numerical simulations in research areas that include ionospheric and magnetospheric physics, solar and heliospheric physics, planetary and exoplanetary science, star and planet formation, galactic and interstellar medium studies, extragalactic and cosmological astrophysics, as well as instrumentation development in support of all those themes.

We own and operate the 1.8-meter Perkins Telescope Observatory and the instruments on it and we are a permanent partner in Lowell Observatory’s 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope, both of which are located in the high-altitude dark skies of Northern Arizona. Our faculty are involved in a number of space-based research missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST, MAVEN, JUNO, THEMIS, Van Allen Probes, and TESS, the airborne observatory SOFIA, and many ground-based national and international telescopic observatories, including the EHT, eVLA, ALMA, Gemini, and VLT.

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Graduate Program Administrators

Paul Withers

Associate Professor; Associate Department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies


Anne Smartvlasak

Department Administrator