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Astronomy and Astrophysics (PHD) 
Program Description

The Astronomy Department's graduate program emphasizes research at the frontiers of astrophysics. Areas of concentration are theoretical, observational, and instrumentational astronomy.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Astronomy -

The Graduate Program of the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory trains students to become independent scientists with the knowledge and skills to conduct and communicate world-class astronomical research. A Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Arizona signifies a student’s excellence in research, which is demonstrated through a significant, original, and scholarly contribution to astrophysical knowledge. We admit graduate students who have met high standards of achievement and shown potential for conducting original research, with the expectation that they will succeed in attaining a doctoral degree in astronomy and astrophysics. The academic program is structured in support of this goal, emphasizing research throughout the graduate career; providing mentoring from individual advisors and our interactive community of students, postdocs, scientists, and faculty. Students will gain firsthand experience with the tools and facilities that define the state of the art in our field.

College of Science  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Amanda Lohmoeller
Graduate Program Coordinator
Michelle Cournoyer
Director of Graduate Studies
Joshua A Eisner
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Kristi R Davenport
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

GRE General test required. (no minimum)
3 letters of recommendation. Recommender name, title, and contact information including e-mail address required as part of the online application.
Transcripts from all Colleges and Universities attended. Unofficial transcripts are required to be scanned and uploaded to the online application.
Statement of Purpose uploaded to the online application. (Page Requirements: 1-2 pages)
Resume or Curriculum Vitae uploaded to the online application.
International Students must submit an English Proficiency Exam. The exams can be found at the following link: 

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE
(GRE tests must be dated within two years of the enrollment term to be considered valid.)
Recommended GRE Subject tests: Physics
(Recommended means that you can chose whether or not to submit a Physics GRE score. If you chose not to submit a Physics GRE score, this will not affect your application in any way. Your application will be reviewed the same with or without a Physics GRE score.) 

Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative:
Minimum GRE Written:
Minimum English Proficiency Exam scores: 550 TOEFL, 7 IELTS, 60 Pearson PTE, C1 CEFR, CESL, or C1 CESL
(English Proficiency tests must be dated within two years of the enrollment term to be considered valid.)

Financial Aid

Full support as a Teaching or Research Assistant is guaranteed for five years at least, as long as the student makes satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: December 7

International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements
Minor Requirements
Formally, all Ph.D. students in our program select both a major and a minor subject. For most, both are astronomy. However, it is possible for the minor to be in one of the other science or engineering disciplines. The course requirement is set by the minor department, but usually at least three of the required elective courses are graduate courses in the minor department. At least one representative from the minor department should participate on the preliminary and final oral (thesis defense) exams.

The astronomy department allows graduate students whose Ph.D. major is in another department to minor in astronomy. We require that they pass nine units of coursework that the department considers acceptable for this purpose, preferably "core" courses, and that one astronomy faculty member participate in the preliminary and final oral exams.

See the Graduate Catalogue and the "Handbook for Completing the Steps to Your Degree" for more information. These publications also contain requirements involving the dissertation, as does also the Manual for Theses and Dissertations.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 7%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 6.50
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 66%
Enrollment Percent Female 34%
Enrollment Percent International 30%
Enrollment Percent URM 6%

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Last revised 30 Nov 2018