Applying to Caltech Astronomy Graduate School
We believe that the Caltech Astronomy Department offers the best graduate program in astronomy available anywhere. Our observing facilities are unrivaled. The W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea hosts the twin 10-meter optical telescopes, and we also operate Palomar Observatory, Owens Valley Radio Observatory, and Caltech Submillimeter Observatory. Our students have regular access to these facilities. Our theory goup is very active in a wide range of topics. We have a lively and stimulating intellectual atmosphere, and cover a broad range of research in astrophysics.
This is how the admissions program works in our department: Incoming students should have a strong background in physics, and although a good preparation in astronomy is helpful, it is not required. Several factors are taken into consideration: any research you may have done and the resulting publications; your GRE scores (general and Physics); letters of recommendation from faculty, in particular the people we may know professionally; your grades in college, especially in physics and related subjects; and your statement of purpose. Please make sure that your GRE scores reach us well before the closing date. As a rule, all of our admitted graduate students are fully supported throughout their Ph.D. progam, and do not pay tuition, regardless of their national origin or residence (unlike the situation at many state universities). We offer a combination of research and teaching assistantships and fellowships. The teaching duties are light since Caltech is a small school, unlike the situation in many large universities.
To apply to the Caltech Astronomy Graduate program please fill out the application found on the Graduate Studies Office webpage. Applications are due on January 1st.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I apply to Caltech Astronomy?
- How do I finance my graduate education?
- Should I apply in Astronomy, Physics, or Planetary Science?
- What should I have studied before coming to Caltech?
- What factors are important in my application?
- What are my prospects for finishing and getting a job?
- What will be my relations with faculty at Caltech?
- What about the quality of life in and around Caltech?