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 here in California. 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.
The admissions process in our department begins with a review of the application package. We assess each applicant's potential as a researcher, potential as a learner and teacher, and professionalism and independence. Several factors are taken into consideration: for example, any research you may have done and your ability to describe it; your grades in college, especially in later-year physics and subjects related to your research interests; your potential to thrive in research and classroom environments, as assessed through your statement and letters of recommendation. The final stage of the admissions process is an online interview by members of the admissions committee.
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. We offer a combination of research and teaching assistantships and fellowships. The teaching duties are undertaken mainly during the second year of the program.
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, 2023.
You might also be interested in this Graduate admissions FAQ and timeline by the current graduate students.
Caltech is a proud member of the Cal-Bridge program. The Cal-Bridge program has the mission of creating opportunities for students of traditionally underrepresented groups to participate and advance in physics, astronomy, computer science, and computer engineering and to increase their numbers in PhD programs in those fields. More information here. All Cal-Bridge scholars are guaranteed fee waivers when applying to our graduate program.