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Advice for Graduate Applicants

Application Materials

In order to receive full consideration for admission for the Autumn 2023 semester, please ensure that all application materials and all of your recommendation letters reach Ohio State by 2022 December 15 if you are a US citizen or permanent resident of the US, or by 2022 November 30 if you are an international student. Applications received later than 2022 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 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 graduate 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

  • 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. We have no pre-defined thresholds on any indicator, and we try to use all materials holistically when evaluating applicants.

Since 2018, submission of the GRE physics subject score is optional. If you choose to submit a score, the subject GRE will be one of several indicators that we use to assess your undergraduate physics preparation. Starting in Autumn 2021, neither the GRE General or Physics GRE are required.

We encourage all applicants to include a paragraph in their statement of intent that addresses their undergraduate physics preparation. For instance, you might list the textbooks used in your advanced physics and astrophysics courses and the grades earned in those courses.

Note that we select students based on their overall potential without any regard for whom they might work with. This differs from some programs where admission is tied to particular research groups.  However, you should feel free to contact our faculty with any questions and expressions of interest in your particular interests.

Statement of Intent

The statement of intent is your opportunity to highlight your strengths and your research and academic fit to the OSU astronomy department. Statements are typically about two pages in length. We suggest that you address 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 is your physics, astrophysics, and math background?
  • What do you consider your strengths as a researcher and scientist?
  • Discuss an experience where you had to overcome adversity, work towards a long-term goal, or work with individuals with differing perspectives.
  • Do you have strengths not otherwise highlighted in your application?