The department expects candidates for advanced degrees to develop professional competence in a chosen area of research and to acquire sufficient general knowledge to understand and follow important developments in other areas of astronomy and astrophysics. Candidates are admitted directly to the PhD program, although the AM degree will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the residence requirements. Candidates for the PhD degree in the Department of Astronomy must complete the necessary courses, undergo an assessment test, satisfy the teaching requirement, work on an initial Research Project, complete a PhD Thesis and pass a Final Oral Examination, as described below.
PhD Degree Requirements
The reseach project and associated exam must be completed by the end of the third year, and it is strongly recommended to finish in the fall of the third year or sooner. Beginning with students entering in the Fall of 2021, it will be expected that students complete all required courses and teaching requirements by the end of their third year; petitions to go beyond this schedule requires approval from the CAS and advisor by the Spring of the second year. The outreach project is due by the end of the Fall in a student's year of graduation.
Duration of Graduate Study
Nearly all students complete their PhD degree requirements in five or six years. Funding is guaranteed only for six years, and extensions beyond this are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Students who are not progressing satisfactorily will be put on grace, essentially a one year University probation during which they must begin to make appropriate progress. Students who, at the end of such a probationary year, are still not progressing satisfactorily, will lose stipend support.