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Department of Astronomy
University of Massachusetts Amherst


The goal of the graduate program at the Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is to educate, train, and foster the development of research skills, in order to prepare our students to be:

  • critical thinkers
  • researchers in academia, scientific laboratories, and industries
  • educators
  • disseminators of scientific knowledge

The program currently consists of a single PhD track in astronomy. The education and training consist of coursework covering the foundational areas of astronomy at the graduate level, a two-year-long research project, and a long-form independent dissertation research project. The program provides early exposure of the students to active research with multiple mentors to encourage them to become independent researchers by the time they reach the conclusion of their dissertation.

The program also provides students with a solid education in the physical sciences through a range of course offerings. Through rigorous training and involvement in a variety of activities at the department and university level, the students leave UMass prepared for a wide range of career opportunities, both within and outside academia.

In addition to becoming familiar with this handbook, graduate students are encouraged to read in detail the Graduate Students Handbook put together by the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts.