Graduate Degree

Astrophysics and Astronomy - Doctor of Philosophy

Astrophysics and Astronomy - Doctor of Philosophy
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Natural Science
Physics Astronomy

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Natural Science

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Study
Astrophysics and Astronomy - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


For admission to the doctoral degree program in astrophysics and astronomy on regular status, the student must have:

  1. Completed mathematics and astronomy or physics courses equivalent to those that are required for an undergraduate major in physics or astronomy.
  2. A satisfactory grade–point average, normally at least 3.00, in the courses referenced in item 1. above.

Students who do not meet the requirements for admission to the program on regular status may be admitted on a provisional basis to remove deficiencies.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Astrophysics and Astronomy

The student must:

  1. Pass the doctoral qualifying exam that tests basic knowledge of undergraduate physics with a grade of A before the end of the student's first semester of the second year. A maximum of three attempts is allowed on this exam.
  2. Complete the following core graduate physics courses or their subject examinations, and the following core of  astronomy courses, with a grade-point average of 3.375 or higher.
    Two of the following:
    PHY    820    Classical Mechanics  (3)
    PHY    831    Statistical Mechanics  (3)
    PHY    841    Classical Electrodynamics I  (3)
    PHY    851    Quantum Mechanics (3)
    All of the following:
    AST    810    Radiation Astrophysics  (3)
    AST    825    Galactic Astronomy  (3)
    AST    835    Extragalactic Astronomy  (3)
    AST    840    Stellar Astrophysics  (3)
  3. Satisfactorily complete 6 credits in Astronomy 805 Research Project. This research project is taken over two semesters and will be graded on the basis of a written paper and oral examination that also serves as the student’s comprehensive examination.
  4. Complete a minimum of 6 credits of additional course work in physics, astrophysics or computation, with a grade-point average of 3.375 or higher at the 800-level or above as chosen in consultation with the student’s guidance committee.
  5. Complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
  6. Complete one semester as a Teaching Assistant (TA). International students who are not native English speakers must pass the SPEAK test in order to be a TA.
  7. Complete 24 credits of doctoral dissertation research in AST 999.
  8. Complete a doctoral dissertation on original research, followed by an oral examination in defense of the dissertation.