Advice for Graduate Applicants

Application Materials

In order to receive full consideration for admission in Autumn 2018, please ensure that all application materials and all of your recommendation letters reach Ohio State by 2017 December 15 if you are a US citizen or permanent resident of the US, or by 2017 November 30 if you are an international student. Applications received later than 2017 December 15 (either domestic or international) may be considered, but only if space in the program is still available.

Applications that are not 100% complete by these deadlines cannot be considered for a University Fellowship.

Please note that all applicants are responsible for paying the required application fee. We do not have the resources to waive this fee for any applicant, domestic or international.

Fellowships and Support

The International deadline (November 30) above refers to those applicants who wish to be considered for University Fellowship support. Successful applicants who are not awarded University Fellowships will be offered financial support as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants; we provide full support to all of our graduate students through to the completion of their PhDs. If you are interested in our program but cannot get everything in by the deadline above, please apply anyway and get in materials as quickly as possible.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for outside fellowships that offer tuition and/or stipend support during gradute school. For domestic students, these include:

International students are encouraged to apply for outside funding such as the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students.

Admission Criteria

Our goal in admissions is to select outstanding students who will benefit from and add to the OSU astronomy program. We base our admissions decisions on a number of factors, primarily (but not in any particular order):

  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Official GRE general test scores
  • Official GRE physics test scores
  • Three (3) Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Intent and supplementary materials
  • CV, including any bibliography

No one of these factors dominates, though letters of recommendation from people who can describe your suitability for the OSU program and preparation for research in general are especially helpful to us.

Note that the subject GRE is one of several indicators we use in assessing undergraduate physics preparation. We have no pre-defined thresholds on any indicator, and we try to use all materials holistically when evaluating applicants.

The statement  of intent is your opportunity to highlight your strengths and your fit to the OSU astronomy department. It also offers a chance to convey information that is not obvious from the rest of your application. Statements are typically about two pages in length. We suggest that you address one or more of the following questions:

  • What is your long-term career goal in astronomy?
  • What areas and techniques of astrophysics are you currently interested in?
  • Why do you consider the OSU department a good match for your goals?
  • What do you consider your strengths as a researcher and scientist?
  • Are there aspects of your background that demonstrate your ability to overcome adversity, work towards a long term goal, and contribute to a diverse environment within the department?
  • Do you have strengths not otherwise highlighted in your application?

Applicants should be aware that we select students based on their overall excellence without any regard to whom they might work with. This is very different from some programs where admissions is tied to particular research groups.  You should feel free to contact our faculty with any questions and expressions of interest about your particular interests. However, be aware that this will not play any role in our selection of candidates.