Graduate Expectations

Statement of Mutual Expectations between the Department of Astronomy and its Graduate Students

Graduate students in the Astronomy doctoral program are expected to develop a mastery of their field, and gain familiarity with their discipline from arrival to graduation. Students should make the transition from classroom learning to active supervised full-time original research during their graduate career.

In particular, full-time doctoral students who arrive with a baccalaureate degree normally will:

  • Become engaged in supervised research no later than the start of their 2nd year
  • Identify a thesis adviser during their 3rd year
  • Identify a thesis topic by the end of their 3rd year
  • Secure admission to candidacy within 3-4 years
  • Submit at least one paper for publication prior to graduation
  • Complete all requirements and graduate within 6-7 years

Graduate students in CMPS doctoral programs normally may expect:

  • A wide selection of courses
  • Advice and mentoring by faculty in their program prior to the selection of an adviser
  • From their adviser (or, in some instances the program):
    • Regular access and advice during the research and thesis writing process
    • Training in the preparation of oral and written scholarly presentations; in particular, advice and support for the writing of at least one paper for publication
    • Introductions, for example at conferences, to other members of the field
    • Assistance and advice with job searches

Guarantee of Funding

The Department of Astronomy's Guarantee of Funding for Its Graduate Students

The department provides full funding during the academic year for six years, with the following conditions. Students must be in good standing and making adequate progress towards the Ph.D. degree. For students not funded on a grant as a Research Assistant, the support is in the form of a Teaching Assistantship. TA support requires the ability to lead a discussion section; if English is a second language, students have one year from arrival on campus to achieve the needed proficiency to teach in the classroom. Continued support as a Teaching Assistant requires satisfactory evaluations from students and instructors.

Students beyond the 6th year who require department support may apply for continued funding. In past years, virtually all students making satisfactory progress have been fully funded to the completion of their Ph.D.

Funding Statistics

Semester# StudentsRAsTAsFellowships% Funded
Fall 2016 35 17 8.5 9.5 100%
Summer 2016 35 30 0 5 100%
Spring 2016 36 24 5 7 100%
Fall 2015 38 23.5 8.5 6 100%
Summer 2015 36 28 0 7 97%
Spring 2015 37 24 5 8 100%
Fall 2014 38 24 8 6 100%
Summer 2014 36 30 1 4 97%
Spring 2014 40 21.5 9 8.5 98%
Fall 2013 41 19.5 12 8.5 98%
Summer 2013 40 35 1 3 98%