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Harvard University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Dec 
International :15 Dec 

PhD Astronomy

 Course Level
PhD
 Type
Full Time

 Duration
5 Years
 Start month
August

 Tuition fee

International
43280 USD
National
43280 USD

Application fee

International 105 USD
National 105 USD
Department
Harvard College
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)330
6

World University Ranking

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About this course

The Department of Astronomy offers a rich and varied program of theoretical, observational, and experimental graduate work leading to the PhD in astronomy. Research is carried out at the Harvard College Observatory, which shares buildings and general facilities with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Together, the two observatories constitute the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA): a large and diverse research setting that provides opportunities in nearly every branch of astrophysical work, from atomic physics to cosmology using the full range of techniques from gamma ray detectors through radio antennas.

Over 360 PhD scientists are engaged in work at the CfA, providing students with an unusually wide choice of dissertation topics and stimulating opportunities for both formal and informal learning through courses and seminars. Graduate students at Harvard benefit from this diverse environment, have access to extensive facilities, and pursue their work in a supportive and stimulating setting.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates for admission are required to take the GRE General and the Physics Subject tests at the earliest convenient date (please note that the February GRE date is too late for consideration). In the additional academic materials section of the online application, prospective students must also upload a list of their four most advanced courses in astronomy and their two most advanced courses in mathematics, indicating textbooks (and authors) used in each course.

The department expects candidates for advanced degrees to develop professional competence in a chosen area of research and to acquire sufficient general knowledge to understand and follow important developments in other areas of astronomy and astrophysics. Candidates are admitted directly to the PhD program, although the AM degree will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the residence requirements. The duration of graduate study should not ordinarily exceed five years, and students in their sixth year are encouraged to finish promptly.

English language requirement:

  • IELTS: 7
  • TOEFL-IBT: 100
  • TOEFL-PBT: 600
  • GRE: 330

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

The program of graduate study is designed to make Harvard PhD students first-rate researchers with a broad knowledge of astrophysics and competence in teaching. To do this, we have constructed an advising program and a set of requirements to help students develop their astrophysical understanding, and to carry through a successful thesis in a timely way.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

When you are ready to apply, access our online application by clicking the apply button on the right side of this page (please note that there is no paper application). All supporting materials must be submitted electronically through the online application system.

If you are applying to a program that is part of the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences  (HILS) federation, visit the HILS website for additional instructions.

If your program's admissions committee determines that another department is well-matched to your academic interests, it may forward your application to that department for consideration.

The application for admission, including all supporting materials, becomes the property of GSAS. No materials will be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies.

1. Upload Your Transcripts

GSAS requires that you upload a copy of your transcript from each college/university you attended to the online application system.

Please note that transcripts from international institutions—records of all courses, seminars, and examinations, including grades, scores, grading scales, and confirmation of degree conferral—must be in English. If records are not available in English, original records must be accompanied by certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.

For those applicants currently enrolled in a college or university, GSAS does not require submission of fall grades. Should you wish to update your submitted application with fall grades, you may do so using the Fall Grade Report section of the online application. While GSAS will make every effort to ensure consideration of information submitted after the deadline, we cannot ensure that it will be used in the evaluation of your application.

2. Confirm Letters of Recommendation

Before applying, confirm that three faculty members or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study have agreed to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. At least one letter should be from a faculty member at the school where you earned your most recent degree, unless you have been out of school for more than five years.

You must provide the e-mail addresses of three recommenders when you apply. GSAS requires your recommenders to submit their letters via an online recommendation system. By law, enrolled students have the right to view their letters of recommendation, unless they indicate otherwise at the time of application. Please note on your application whether you are waiving your right to see these letters.

We regret that we are unable to accept letters submitted through a recommendation dossier service.

3. Write Your Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is very important to programs when deciding whether to admit a candidate. Your statement should be focused, informative, and convey your research interests and qualifications. You should provide a vivid picture of your intellectual profile: how you formulate research topics, how you pursue them, and how you articulate any interesting findings. As you convey this information, it is important to emphasize how these experiences have influenced both your decision to undertake graduate study and your goals within a graduate program.

4. Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

GSAS requires that applicants present scores of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Scores from either the computer-delivered or the paper-delivered test are acceptable. Many programs also require one of the GRE Subject Tests; visit the relevant department in the Programs of Study for more information.

It is essential that you arrange to take the GRE in sufficient time for score reports to reach us by the application deadline. GRE scores are valid for five years (i.e. scores must be from no earlier than September 1, 2012, for fall 2017 admission). If you have personal score reports available from tests taken within the last five years, you can upload them to your online application for consideration by the admissions committee. However, you will still need to ensure that Educational Testing Service (ETS) sends an official score report. Be sure to register for the tests well before administration dates and request that your scores be sent to Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences using code 3451.

5. Demonstrate English Proficiency, Where Required

Adequate command of spoken and written English is essential to success in graduate study at Harvard. Applicants who are non-native English speakers and who received their undergraduate degree from an academic institution where English is not the primary language of instruction must take the Internet based test (iBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). A minimum score of 80 is required, but some programs may require a higher score. Applicants who took the TOEFL more than two years ago (i.e. before September 1, 2015, for fall 2017 admission) must retake the test. No test other than the iBT TOEFL will be accepted as proof of English proficiency; a master's degree is not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

Applicants must request that ETS send an official score report to the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences using code 3451. If you have a copy of your Score Confirmation Report, you can upload it to your online application for consideration by the admissions committee. However, you will still need to ensure that Educational Testing Service sends an official score report.

Check further details on University website

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