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Astronomy Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Astronomy and Space Sciences

Program Description

The goal of the graduate program in Astronomy is to provide the foundation of a future career whether it be in the specific field of Astronomy and Space Sciences or in some other quantitative, scientific discipline. The first two years of your education is directed towards training in the broad inclusive knowledge of the field of Astronomy and Space Sciences through classwork, seminars, colloquia and consultation with faculty. You will gain experience communicating your ideas verbally and in written form. The background you acquire will provide a strong basis to begin conducting research in a more specialized area of interest. It is expected that the third year of the program will bring the full-fledged research experience where you will acquire expert knowledge in several areas and learn how to grapple with problems bringing all your resources to bear to solve them. Through the remainder of the graduate program, you will hone your professional scientific skills and carry out original, publishable research.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-3727

104 Space Sciences Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • astronomy
  • astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • infrared astronomy
  • planetary studies
  • radio astronomy
  • radiophysics
  • space sciences [general]
  • theoretical astrophysics



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

Applicants should have a strong background in electrical engineering, engineering physics, mathematics, or physics. Applicants are required to submit GRE general test scores and GRE physics subject test scores; these are often of great help in admitting outstanding students from less well-known institutions.

  • all Graduate School Requirements
  • including the TOEFL or IELTS Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test in physics

Learning Outcomes

In years 1 and 2:

  • Gain a broad, current foundation of knowledge in the field of Astronomy and Space Sciences (hereafter,“the field”).
  • Identify an appropriate area of research of interest to the student and to a current faculty member within the field (“appropriate” means one that can potentially lead to the fulfillment of the goals listed under “By the end of the program”).
  • Begin acquiring the background knowledge for conducting research in the selected area by completing relevant courses.
  • Begin conducting research in consultation with the faculty member.
  • Gain experience presenting ideas orally: by working as a teaching assistant and/or by participating in the field’s various seminars and colloquia.

 By the end of the program:

  • Conduct original, publishable research in the field.
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge across at least two sub-disciplines.
  • Demonstrate state-of-the art knowledge of one area.
  • Write effectively for professional audiences.
  • Speak effectively to professional and lay audiences.