The goal of the graduate program in the CWRU Department of Astronomy is to educate and train the next generation of professional astronomers. As professional astronomers work in a variety of settings – universities, research labs, observatories, museums, and planetariums – our program offers a wide range of research and educational opportunities for students pursuing their doctoral degree.
Graduate research opportunities are available in both observational and theoretical astrophysics, covering fields of galaxy formation and evolution, large scale structure and cosmology, and stellar abundances and chemical evolution. CWRU Astronomy is the sole owner/operator of the Burrell Schmidt telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, giving graduate students opportunities for significant observing time and instrumentation research as well. We are also members of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey consortium, which provides further opportunities for thesis research involving SDSS data.
For admission into the Ph.D. program, a bachelors degree in astronomy, physics, or a related technical field is required. Preparation in upper level undergraduate courses in classic mechanics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and electricity and magnetism is expected; preparation in astrophysics courses is helpful but not required. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is also expected, and applicants must also submit scores for the GRE general and physics subject exams.
Our research program meets state and regional needs by training students in technical research skills, fostering an active scientific research community, and participating in public outreach and educational activities. Our students assist with all these activities by presenting their research at a variety of technical and public venues and acting as teaching assistants for our undergraduate education programs. Of particular importance is our ability to give students hands-on technical training in research observatory science, an opportunity that is fast-dwindling in this age of remotely-managed observatories.
Upon graduation, our students generally take national or international research postdoctoral positions at universities or research facilities. Five years after degree, our graduates are competitive for permanent positions at universities and research labs.
As per the requirements of the Ohio Board of Regents, our Ph.D. program was externally reviewed in 2011/12; the next scheduled review is in 2018/19. These programmatic goals and objectives were last revised in December 2012.