Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy works closely with the graduate students on theoretical and experimental research in the following areas: atomic physics, biophysics, molecular physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. See the Physics degree section for studies in the first five subjects.

Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy (71 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree)
  1. Students must either complete or exempt Phys 6510, 6520, 6810 and 7600. 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 two courses must take more than the 71 minimum hours required for the degree.
  2. 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.
  3. Students seeking a Ph.D. degree in astronomy must complete at least fifteen hours of core courses including:
    • ASTR 6000 Fundamentals of Astrophysics (3)
    • ASTR 6100 Astronomical Techniques and Instrumentation (3)
    • And at least three of the following:
    • PHYS 8010 Advanced Classical Mechanics (4)
    • PHYS 8100 Electromagnetic Theory I (3)
    • PHYS 8110 Electromagnetic Theory II (3)
    • PHYS 8210 Quantum Mechanics I (3)
    • PHYS 8310 Statistical Mechanics (3)
  4. Students seeking a Ph.D. degree in Astronomy must complete at least 21 additional hours of 8000-level astronomy courses, including at least two (but no more than three) hours of ASTR 8900 (Seminar). No more than three hours of ASTR 8910 (Directed Study) can count towards the degree.
  5. Satisfactory completion of one hour of ASTR 6300 (Teaching Astronomy) and two hours of ASTR 6310 (Teaching Astronomy Lab Practicum).
  6. A minimum of 20 hours of ASTR 9999 (Doctoral Dissertation Research) must be completed; only 21 hours of these count towards the 71 hours for the Ph.D.
  7. Satisfaction of the foreign language/research skill requirement. (Contact the department for details.)
  8. 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 and at least nine hours of required 8000-level physics courses.
  9. 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.
  10. An oral presentation discussing the student’s proposed dissertation research.
  11. A dissertation.
  12. An oral examination on the completed dissertation.

Prior to registration each semester, students must be advised by either the chair of the department or the director of graduate studies.