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Degree Requirements

PhD Program

Our PhD program is generally 5 to 5-1/2 years. The first two years include research projects, classes, and the opportunity to teach. The remainder is devoted to thesis research.

Requirements include:

  • Seven (7) core courses in astronomy (21 credits) plus two approved cognate courses from other departments (6 credits) taken during the first two years
  • First- and second-year research projects with required presentations
  • Doctoral preliminary examination
  • Dissertation and oral defense

Sample Schedule: Years 1 & 2

Average Program Length Years 1 & 2 Remainder
5 — 5-1/2 Years  Year-long Research Projects, Classes, Teaching Thesis Research 
Year 1, Fall Semester
  • Astronomy 501: Modern Astronomical Techniques
  • Astronomy 533: The Structure and Content of Galaxies
  • Cognate course in Physics/Math/Statistics
  • Research

Year 1, Winter Semester

  • Astronomy 534: The Extragalactic Universe
  • Astronomy 535: Astrophysics of the Interstellar Medium
  • Research

Year 2, Fall semester

  • Astronomy 530: Stellar Astrophysics I
  • Cognate course in Physics/Math/Statistics
  • Research

Year 2, Winter semester

  • Astronomy 531: Stellar Astrophysics II
  • Astronomy 532: The High Energy Universe
  • Research

The advancement to candidacy exam is given 1-2 months after the end of the Winter semester, Year 2. Students who have completed the course work (core+cognate classes) and are in good academic standing are eligible for a master's degree.