mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Admission Requirements

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Applicants to the University of Hawai‘i Astronomy Graduate Program should normally have a strong background in physics, including some classical mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, special relativity, quantum mechanics, and nuclear physics. Courses in mathematics through differential equations are also required. An undergraduate course in introductory astronomy is recommended.

In selecting applications for entry to the astronomy program, we pay attention to academic achievement, to the letters of recommendation, and to evidence of independent research ability and experience.

Applicants must take the general (verbal, quantitative, and analytic) Graduate Record Examination (GRE), as well as the physics subject GRE. Average GRE scores for students admitted to the program are about 80th percentile verbal and quantitative, about 70th percentile analytic, and about 60th percentile in physics. The physics percentile is a bit lower than the others since other evidence of a strong physics background is factored into admissions decisions. We don't have minimum scores, but a student with scores much lower than these must present a compelling case on other grounds to obtain admission.

At least three independent letters of recommendation must be supplied. Applicants must also submit the astronomy program's supplementary information form, as well as a personal statement describing their goals and achievements.

Students for whom English is not the first language must also pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam with a score of 560/220 (paper/computer) or higher. If they wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship (the most common kind of financial support for first-year graduate students) they need to have a TOEFL score of 600/250 (paper/computer) or higher.

Students must also satisfy the university's application criteria, which include a grade point average of at least 3.0 (or the equivalent) in the last two years of undergraduate study and in all postgraduate-level course work.

For more information, see Graduate Program: Applying for Admission.