Astronomy Doctor of Philosophy

About us

The Ohio State Department of Astronomy offers a superb PhD program for students interested in observational or theoretical astrophysics or astronomical instrumentation.

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 have typically authored or co-authored 8-15 refereed journal articles. 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. Students typically publish one or two papers, usually at least one first-author, before completing their second year.

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 Astro 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. As a result, many students work in more than one area before (and after) settling on a dissertation topic.

Observational research interests of the Ohio State faculty include Extrasolar Planets, Galactic and Extragalactic Star Formation and Stellar Feedback, Stellar Populations, Chemical Evolution and Chemical Abundances in Stars,  Supernovae and Compact Objects, the Interstellar, Circumgalactic and Intergalactic Medium, Large Scale Structure and Large Surveys of Galaxies, the Galactic Center, Galactic Structure, Gravitational Microlensing, the Structure and Evolution of Galaxies, and 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 Physic, Atomic physics.

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.

Observing Facilities include the LBT Observatory on Mt. Graham, Arizona (16% share of twin 8.4m telescope) and the MDM Observatory on Kitt Peak, Arizona (25% share of 2.4m and 1.3m telescope) as well as active participation in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Dark Energy Survey, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, and the ASAS-SN network.

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

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International graduates of this major are approved by the Department of Homeland Security for three (3) years of work permission in the United States after graduation. Visit the Office of International Affairs website for more information.