Important graduate admissions update: due to the COVID-19 pandemic scores for the GRE General and GRE Subject exams will neither be required nor accepted on applications to the Astronomy program for the entering cohort of Fall 2021. Please do not indicate these scores anywhere on your application. This statement overrides any mention of the GRE you may find on our website.
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 Maunakea, Hawai`i, hosts the twin 10-meter optical telescopes, and we also operate Palomar Observatory and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Our students have regular access to these facilities. Our theory group 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. Although a good preparation in astronomy is helpful, it is not required. Several factors are taken into consideration: any research you may have done; letters of recommendation; your grades in college, especially in physics and related subjects; and your statement of purpose. As a rule, all of our admitted graduate students are fully supported throughout their Ph.D. program, 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.
To apply to the Caltech Astronomy Graduate program please fill out the application found on the Graduate Studies Office webpage. Applications in Astronomy are due on December 21, 2020.
You might also be interested in this Graduate admissions FAQ and timeline by the current graduate students.