Graduate Program – Application Requirements

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.

To be considered for admission it is necessary to submit the following by December 15th:

  • Application for admission and application fee
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume/CV

Ordinarily, official scores from the GRE General Test are also required.  However, we are aware that the on-going outbreak of the COVID-19 disease has created uncertainty in availability of standardized testing to prospective applicants during the 2020/2021 application cycle.  Therefore, in this admissions cycle, submission of official GRE General Test scores is not mandatory. However, if applicants are able to take the GRE General Test, we encourage applicants to submit the scores using institution code 3087.

Furthermore, students may optionally submit scores from the GRE Physics Subject Test.  While not required, official GRE Physics Subject Test scores can be useful for evaluating applicants who have received or anticipate receiving their undergraduate degrees from lesser known institutions or whose degrees do not involve a concentration or major in physics, astronomy or a related field.  GRE Physics Subject Test scores can be submitted using institution code 3087.

Some applicants may also need to demonstrate proficiency in English (click here for more information).   The minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 for the paper-based test. The TOEFL minimum requirements for the Internet Based Test (IBT) are as follows:

  • Reading section – 21
  • Listening section – 21
  • Speaking section – 21
  • Writing section – 21

All students accepted into our PhD programs are guaranteed five years of financial support, contingent upon maintaining satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the Astronomy Department and the Graduate School.  If you have any questions about the program or its requirements, please visit the Astronomy Department’s graduate admissions webpage.

The application deadline is December 15. (See also the CAS page for International Students here.)

If you have any questions, please contact the Astronomy Department’s Director of Graduate Admissions:

Prof. Wen Li