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Application Info

The deadline to apply for admission to the PhD program in Astronomy and Astrophysics is December 15.

How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted online via the Rackham Graduate School website. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review Rackham's Checklist for Completing the Application Process for an overview of the application process. Click here to apply online.

What is required for admission to the Michigan Astronomy graduate program?

  • A bachelor's degree with a major in physics, astronomy, or a related field.
  • The General and Physics GRE exams are not required for admission, nor will scores be accepted as part of the admissions process. Please do not submit any GRE scores for consideration.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A Statement of Purpose, and a Personal Statement.
  • Transcripts (see below for more information). 
  • Applicants who are not native speakers of English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English (e.g. TOEFL exam). Please see Rackham’s English Proficiency Requirements for more information.


All applicants are required to submit scanned copies of their official transcripts by uploading them to the online application. You will be required to have your official transcript sent to the Rackham Graduate School only if you are recommended for admission. (Please see Rackham’s website for more information on how to submit official transcripts and required academic credentials from non-U.S. institutions). 

All applicants should report their Grade Point Average (GPA) on page 5 of the online application. The GPA should be reported using a standard U.S. four point scale.  Applicants who attended an institution outside the United States should follow the instructions to convert their international average grade point to a U.S. four point GPA (see "How to Convert Grades to a U.S. GPA" here)

Statement of Purpose

Please explicitly address the following in your Statement of Purpose:

    1. Your educational background and research experiences.
    2. Examples of originality and perseverance in your academic and research pursuits.

In addition, you may include: 

* Examples of professional citizenship, including engagement with public outreach, mentoring experience, participation in department/university committees, and/or commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

* Examples of team experiences (including but not limited to sports, robotics teams, debate, performance ensembles, etc.) and instances of leadership and perseverance in those settings.

* Your career goals and the specific opportunities in our department that will help you to achieve them.

Personal Statement

Please address the following in your Personal Statement: How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan?

For example, if you grew up in a community where educational, cultural, or other opportunities were either especially plentiful or especially lacking, or are undocumented or DACAmented, you might discuss the impact this had on your development and interests. This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume

Submit your curriculum vitae or resume that describes your education, work experience, research and teaching experience, professional affiliations, volunteer activity and community engagements, honors and awards.

Letters of Recommendation (3 Required)

Three letters of recommendation in support of your application must be submitted. Recommenders must complete their recommendations online. When you register the recommenders' names in ApplyWeb, an email is automatically sent with a link to enter the recommendation online. Applicants should check the status of their recommendations on the ApplyWeb website status page. Please see Rackham's page on Letters of Recommendation for more information.


The General and Physics GRE exams are not required for admission, nor will scores be accepted as part of the admissions process. Please do not submit any GRE scores for consideration.

Proof of English Proficiency (if required)

Applicants whose native language is not English are required demonstrate English proficiency (e.g. TOEFL exam). Please see Rackham’s English Proficiency Requirements for more information.

Application Fee and Fee Waiver Requests

    - United States citizens and permanent residents, $75

     - Non-U.S. citizens, $90

This fee is due at the time of application, is non-refundable and is subject to change.

If the application fee presents an extreme financial hardship, U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be eligible for a fee waiver as outlined on the Rackham website. International applicants and other applicants who are not eligible for a Rackham fee waiver, and for whom the application fee presents an extreme financial hardship, may complete this form to request a waiver. Requests for fee waivers must be received by November 15 in order to be considered. 

Asking for a fee waiver will not affect your application chances and this information is not shared with the admissions committee

Application Checklist

  • Submit online:
  • Request online to be sent to the University of Michigan:
  • Arrange for official transcripts to be sent to the Rackham Graduate School Admissions Office, if necessary. See the Transcripts section above for more information.

For additional details, please see Rackham's Checklist for Completing the Application Process. Do not send anything to the Department of Astronomy. Materials sent directly to the Department by regular mail or email will not be reviewed with your application.

What support is provided to Astronomy PhD students?

Graduate students in Astronomy receive a monthly stipend, tuition waiver, plus health and dental coverage. 

We also support student applications for prestigious national fellowships such as NSF and NASA.

More detailed information on health insurance coverage is available at:

Where can I find additional resources?

For questions not addressed here, please email or
phone 734-764-3440.