Graduate Program

Harvard Astro Dept.

Astronomy Department graduate students, post-docs, lecturers and faculty (September 2017)

The Department of Astronomy offers a rich and varied program in theoretical, observational and experimental graduate work leading to the PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Students are not accepted for a separate master's degree program. Research is carried out at the Harvard College Observatory, which shares buildings and general facilities with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Together the two observatories constitute the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics—a large and diverse research setting which provides opportunities in nearly every branch of astrophysical work, from atomic physics to cosmology, using the full range of techniques from gamma ray detectors through radio antennas. Follow these links to learn more about facilities and research areas.

Over 360 PhD scientists are engaged in work at the Center for Astrophysics (CfA), providing students with an unusually wide choice of thesis topics and stimulating opportunities for both formal and informal learning through courses and seminars. Graduate students at Harvard benefit from this diverse environment, have access to extensive facilities, and pursue their work in a supportive and stimulating setting.  We hold ourselves accountable to fostering a respectful and inclusive work environment for all students, as outlined in our Graduate Student Community Values.


The program of graduate study is designed to make Harvard PhD students first-rate researchers with a broad knowledge of astrophysics and competence in teaching. To do this, we have constructed an advising program and a set of requirements to help students develop their astrophysical understanding, and to carry through a successful thesis in a timely way.

The Director of Graduate Studies and the Committee on Academic Studies are in charge of the graduate program.