Department of Astronomy Graduate School Applications

The admissions process for AY 24-25 is open. Completed applications are due by 15 Dec 2023.

The University of Maryland's Graduate School accepts online applications. 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 expected to have strong backgrounds in astronomy, physics, and mathematics (equivalent to a B.S. in Astronomy or Physics).

In our admission process we are looking for students who will thrive and succeed in our program, engage in our research, educational, service, and Equity/Diversity/Inclusion (EDI) missions, and who will be productive and active members of our graduate student community. To evaluate this we take into account all of the information you include in the application. Good academic preparation is needed for success in any graduate program; this can be demonstrated in a number of ways, such as good grades especially in appropriate-level physics and math classes, or with the Physics GRE test (which is an optional component of the application package and will not count against you if not submitted). As you work on your application materials, consider that we are very interested in understanding not only what you have done, but also what you have learned as part of your classes and research experience.

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
  • (Optional) GRE General and Physics Subject Test Scores are optional (University of Maryland institution code 5814).
  • A Note On Spring 2020 P/F Grading: We will take Spring 2020 semester grades of "pass" as indicating successful course completion, and that the P/F grading is a consequence of disruption caused by the pandemic. Please contact the department if you wish to explain P/F grades in subject-matter courses on your transcript from other semesters.
  • 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 96 for full enrollment. Applicants with scores below 96 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 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 to discuss whether the department can cover the application fee.
    FreeApp flier

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

For general questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School. For questions which are specific to the Astronomy program, prospective students 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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