Jun 02, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Astronomy, Ph.D.

Degree Requirements

Prior to registration each semester, students should be advised by either the chair of the department or the director of graduate studies. Please note, graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each for the fall/spring semesters and 9 credit hours for the summer semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed 71 hour program of study, as well as additional hours of ASTR 9999 , ASTR 8710 , and ASTR 8910 .

Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy

(Minimum of 71 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree)

Students Must Either Complete or Exempt (0-23 Credit-Hours)

Exemption from these courses may be granted on the basis of testing or of having successfully completed similar courses elsewhere. Students not exempting at least four courses must take more than the 71 minimum hours required for the degree.


Students must have competence in the following areas of mathematics: matrix algebra, vector and tensor analysis, partial differential equations, Fourier series and boundary value problems, and complex variables.

Required Courses (20 Hours)

Students seeking a Ph.D. degree in astronomy must complete the following six core courses:

Satisfactory Completion of

Required Minimum of 30 Hours

A minimum of 30 hours of ASTR 9999 - Doctoral Dissertation Research  must be completed; only 34 hours of these count against the 71 hour program of study for the Ph.D.

Language or Research Skill

Proficiency in an approved language or research skill. Contact the graduate director for details.

General Examinations

  • Students seeking a Ph.D. degree in Astronomy must take the first astronomy general examination, administered as a written examination covering the fundamentals of astronomy, within a year of entering the program.
  • Students seeking a Ph.D. degree in Astronomy must also take the second general examination, administered as a written and oral examination, after passing at least twelve hours of 8000-level astronomy courses.

Physics M.S. with a Concentration in Astronomy

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree are strongly urged to satisfy the requirements for the Physics M.S. with a Concentration in Astronomy (non-thesis option) as soon as possible after entering the program. See the director of graduate studies for details.

An Oral Presentation

An oral presentation and discussion of the student’s proposed dissertation research, by the end of the third year after admission to the program.

A Dissertation

A Final Oral Presentation and Defense of the Dissertation