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Astronomy - Doctor of Philosophy 4055 McPherson Laboratory
140 W. 18th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
phone: 614-292-1773
fax: 614-292-2928

The Ohio State Department of Astronomy offers a superb PhD program for students interested in observational or theoretical astrophysics. We place a strong emphasis on research. Students begin work on research projects as soon as they arrive, and we encourage them to work with several different research advisors during the course of their graduate education.

Our graduating students typically author or co-author 8-15 refereed journal articles by the time they complete their PhDs, in addition to writing numerous conference papers and abstracts. Our 1st- and 2nd-year students are already active researchers: publishing papers, attending conferences, giving talks, going on observing runs, and working in the instrument lab. This early initiation into the astronomical research community pays off when students graduate and embark upon their careers.

On many topics, a student has a choice of several possible research advisors. Many students work in more than one area before (and after) settling on a dissertation topic. Students typically publish one or two papers, usually at least one first-author, before completing their second year.

Interested students also have the opportunity to work on advanced astronomical instrumentation through the department's instrumentation lab, a group of nine research staff with expertise in optics, detectors, electronics, mechanical design, and software engineering. This group works closely with the observational faculty and builds optical and infrared instruments for a variety of telescopes.

Astronomy is a close-knit department with a lively atmosphere and a great deal of daily contact between students and faculty. Faculty contact comes naturally through research supervision and classes, but also through Daily Astronomy Coffee, weekly journal clubs and colloquia, student-organized reading groups, and many informal events. Students at Ohio State have more opportunity to learn from close interaction with faculty than they would in virtually any other astronomy program.

Observational research interests of the Ohio State faculty include

  • Extrasolar Planets
  • Galactic and Extragalactic Star Formation
  • Stellar Populations
  • Chemical Evolution
  • Supernovae and Compact Objects
  • The Interstellar Medium
  • The Galactic Center
  • Galactic Structure
  • Gravitational Microlensing
  • Structure and Evolution of Galaxies
  • Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars.

Theoretical research interests include

  • Primordial and stellar nucleosynthesis
  • Stellar structure and evolution
  • Supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and compact objects
  • Galactic structure
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxy dynamics
  • Active galactic nuclei
  • Galaxy formation
  • The intergalactic medium
  • Large scale structure
  • Cosmology
  • Astroparticle Physics
  • Atomic physics

Observing and Computational Facilities

All admitted students are guaranteed funding throughout their time at Ohio State, provided they continue to make sufficient progress toward the PhD. Funding is provided by University Fellowships, National Fellowships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA), and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), or a combination.

Please consult the information on the astronomy department web pages for prospective students ( for more information on the program and your application.