Department of Astronomy Graduate School Applications

Application Materials Deadline is December 13, 2019

The Astronomy program is accepting applications for Fall 2020.

The University of Maryland's Graduate School accepts applications through its ApplyYourself/Hobsons application system. Note that the Department of Astronomy accepts applications for the Ph.D. program only. (You do not need an M.S. degree to apply for the Ph.D. program.)

Students who enter the graduate program are normally expected to have strong backgrounds in astronomy, physics, and mathematics (equivalent to a B.S. in Astronomy or Physics). A student with deficiencies in one of these areas may be admitted but will be expected to remedy such deficiencies as soon as possible.

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  • Graduate application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Description of research
  • List of publications and presentations
  • Supplementary application (a brief questionnaire)
  • Transcripts (translated into English). You must have an overall grade point average of 3.0. An unofficial transcript is sufficient; upon enrollment, students are asked to submit hard copies of official transcripts to the University.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE General and Physics Subject Test scores (University of Maryland institution code is 5814). These are a consideration in admissions and are generally required; please contact the chair of the Graduate Entrance Committee, Dr. Eliza Kempton to discuss exceptions. Any request for exceptions should include an explanation for the request and applicable documentation.
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic test scores (international applicants only). See the Graduate School website and also below for exceptions. See also the score requirements. Note that the university has a minimum TOEFL requirement of 84; applicants with scores below 100 must have demonstrated exceptional research aptitude and are rarely selected by our department.
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75). See below for exceptions.
  • Please do not upload documents for the Writing Samples. (The admissions committee will not read these.)
  • The "Faculty of Interest" section is required. Please choose 3 members of the tenured/tenure-track faculty.
  • The application may include a section called "Advanced Textbooks". This section is optional for all applicants (you may enter "N/A" in the fields), but it is recommended for foreign applicants.

The electronic submission of application materials helps to expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by the Department of Astronomy's Graduate Entrance Committee. The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean. (To ensure the integrity of the application process, the University of Maryland authenticates submitted materials through TurnItIn for Admissions.)

Items of Special Note:

  • The Department of Astronomy accepts applications for the Ph.D. program ONLY (no exceptions).
  • To increase access to graduate education for students who possess qualities and experiences that enhance the diversity of the intellectual, cultural, and social environment, the University of Maryland participates in the FreeApp program. This allows applicants who are U.S. citizens to request a graduate application fee waiver. The priority deadline for requesting a waiver is November 15, although a request can be submitted at any time. Go to for requesting a waiver. Applicants who participate in some organizations and programs are also eligible for a waiver. Applicants who are not eligible for these waivers may contact the chair of the Graduate Entrance Committee, Dr. Eliza Kempton to discuss whether the department can cover the application fee.
  • Answers to many general questions about the Department can be found at our listing on

Information for International Graduate Students:

  • The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.
  • The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance. Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents. Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International Applicants for more information.
  • Note that the Department guarantees a graduate assistant position to all incoming students, which you can use to satisfy the financial certification.
  • If you may be unable to complete the TOEFL or IELTS prior to the admissions deadline, please contact the Department to make special arrangements.

Contact Information

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons/Apply Yourself help support link on your application for any technical issues. For general questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School. For questions which are specific to the Astronomy program, proesptive student may contact the Department of Astronomy.

The Graduate School
University of Maryland
Attn: Admissions
2123 Lee Building
7908 Regents Dr.
College Park, MD 20742

Phone: 301-405-3644
Department of Astronomy
Attn: Graduate Entrance Committee
4296 Stadium Drive
PSC Building, Room 1113
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-2421

Email (preferred):
Phone: 301-405-3001
Fax: 301-314-9067
Office of International Student & Scholar Services
1126 HJ Patterson Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Phone: 301-314-7740
Fax: 301-314-3280
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