Graduate Student Frequently Asked Questions


What graduate programs are offered by the Department of Astronomy?

We have programs leading to a Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Science Teaching (M.S.T.) and/or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Astronomy. Strong preference for admission, however, is given to applicants intending to pursue the Ph.D. degree. Most students pursuing the Ph.D. will obtain an M.S. degree in astronomy as well.

What background is required for astronomy graduate school?

Prospective students should have strong backgrounds in physics, mathematics, and computing. An astronomy background is helpful but not required.

What are the minimum requirements for the graduate programs?

The UF Graduate School requires a previous college degree maintaining a GPA of 3.0 and satisfactory GRE general test score. The Department of Astronomy has no minimum GRE requirement but the average for past applicants has been ~65th percentile for the verbal and ~75th percentile for the quantitative portions of the test. The Department of Astronomy also requires that students take and report the GRE physics subject test.

How competitive is the admissions process?

Admission to the program is very competitive. Students admitted will normally far exceed the minimum requirements. The department's admissions committee members encourage you to apply for admission if your overall academic record is compatible with the department's requirements. Please be aware that the department's graduate admissions committee evaluates each student's record individually and considers every aspect of the admissions documentation.

Are graduate students supported financially?

Although acceptance into the graduate program does not guarantee financial aid, the department is committed to finding financial support for all students in good standing. The number of financial awards available to prospective students through the department varies from year to year. All of our graduate students are funded through teaching assistantships, research assistantships or fellowships. Students on assistantships or fellowships receive in-state tuition rates and a tuition waiver is provided to students with assistantships or fellowships (students are responsible for the payment of fees assessed by the University which currently are charged at the (approximate) rate of $78 per credit hour).

Does the Department of Astronomy admit international students?

Many of the current graduate students in our program are international students. To aid the admissions committee, please include any translations of transcripts and GPAs. Also, be sure to include your TOEFL or other language proficiency scores.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Include in your personal statement the reasons why you want to pursue a graduate degree in astronomy and any qualifications that make you an outstanding candidate for admission. Your statement should include information on any research experience or interests you may have and also include a discussion of any special circumstances in your academic background. Please include your plans upon completion of your graduate degree.

Who should write my letters of recommendations and what information should these contain?

Letters of recommendation from your letter writers should detail the attributes you possess that will result in your ability to pursue graduate work in Astronomy. Choose recommendation writers who are most familiar with you and your abilities. Through the online application system, applicants have the ability to check the status of submission of letters. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all letters are submitted by the application deadline.