The PhD in Astronomy prepares students for a career 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, professors and researchers are at the forefront of a wide variety of research areas, though not all. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the scientific areas pursued in the Astronomy Department to ascertain best matches and whether your particular interests can be met.

Applicants to the PhD program in Astronomy should have a strong physics background implied by a Bachelor’s degree with a major or concentration in physics, astronomy or a related field. Undergraduate credits in physics should include courses in mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics/statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Mathematics through differential equations and a course in introductory astronomy and/or astrophysics are highly recommended. Applicants should have a cumulative GPA equivalent to B or higher.

All students accepted into the Astronomy PhD program who matriculate at Boston University are guaranteed five years of financial support, contingent upon maintaining satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the Astronomy Department and the Graduate School. More information can be found at the GRS website for PhD financial aid.

    Please note that the Astronomy Department does not accept students to, or offer, a terminal masters program, though MA degrees may be awarded en route as part of the PhD program.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact our Director of Graduate Admissions.

How to Apply

Applicants to the Astronomy PhD program should use the online application. The online application process is administered through the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Please do not submit any application materials to the Astronomy Department directly.

Deadline for Fall 2024 Admission

  • December 15
  • Applications are for September admission only; the department does not offer Spring or off-cycle admissions.


Application Requirements

All application materials must be submitted via the online application. Please do not submit any application materials directly to the Department.

  • Online Application Form
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all previously attended institutions – unofficial copies
  • Statement of Purpose (Research Interests)
  • Resume/CV
  • Test Scores — review our FAQ for each option (follow the links):
  • Do not send any admissions materials to the Astronomy Department.

    Send supplementary application materials to:

      Admissions Office
      Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
      Boston University
      705 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 112
      Boston, MA 02215
  • $95 Application fee – This fee is non-refundable.

    Application fee waivers may be awarded under many circumstances. Prospective students should review the Graduate School’s website for policies and to apply for a PhD application fee waiver. Please do not submit the application until you have received a decision regarding your fee waiver application.


Additional Resources

Related Links

Questions About Admissions?

JJ Hermes

Assistant Professor; Director of Graduate Admissions