Post-Baccalaureate Program

Princeton University Post-Baccalaureate Program in Astrophysics

1 Summary

Post Bacculaureate1The Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University offers a two year post-baccalaureate program to strengthen preparation for pursuing a PhD in astrophysics or related fields at a US graduate school. This is a research assistantship rather than a degree program but includes training and course work. The Department is a vibrant community of faculty, research staff and students working on a wide variety of topics in astrophysics, and is ranked among the best departments in the world offering graduate degrees in astrophysics. Participants receive full support stipend, research allowance and summer salary for both years. There is no application fee if one applies through the link below. The program is targeted towards members of groups in the United States who have traditionally been underrepresented in the physical sciences, including women. Preference is given to undergraduate degrees in physics, astronomy, or related STEM fields.

2 Course of StudyPost Bacculaureate5

The course of study is tailored to the needs and background of each participant. Broadly speaking, 2 courses per semester will be taken in physics (classical and statistical mechanics, quantum physics, electromagnetism), astrophysics, and mathematics at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level. Postbaccs will also carry out research with a faculty advisor or in a research group, and will receive an official transcript at the end of the program.

The program includes mentoring and support on career paths and advice on graduate school applications.

3 Philosophy

Graduate studies in astrophysics require an extensive background in physics, mathematics and computational science. Some highly talented and dedicated students lack opportunities to master all of the prerequisites before completing their undergraduate education. We seek such students, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups (Native American, Hispanic, African-American, women, and those in challenged economic circumstances), who wish to pursue the higher education and research necessary for study in astrophysics. Our goal is to prepare potential young scientists to make very strong applications to the best graduate schools.

4 Financial support

Princeton University and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences provides full support to research assistants in the post-baccalaureate program, including a healthcare plan, stipends for the academic year (approximately $27K/yr) and summer (approximately $8K), and a small research budget (approximately $2K/yr). Other research support, including the use of the department’s computer facilities, is also covered. Funding for the second year is contingent upon the continued effort of the participant to pursue a GRE and a career in physical sciences. The program is presently in its second year and has resources for only two participants per year.

5 Application procedure

Upload the following materials here:

  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages, 12pt font, 1-inch margin, PDF format). List your contact information, education, awards, relevant research experience and accomplishments.
    Please also include the names and contact information for at least two references who can speak to your accomplishments.
  • Diversity statement: a 1-2 paragraph discussion of the role of diversity in graduate school and in the sciences.
  • Research statement: why you wish to pursue education and research in astrophysics (max. 1pg, 12pt, 1-inch margin, PDF).
  • A copy of undergraduate transcript(s).
  • Two letters of references to be uploaded to the same site (PDF).

The following materials are optional for the application for the astrophysics program:

  • A transcript and GRE scores (if you have them). An unofficial GRE score report is fine. Please note that the GRE is not required for this program.
  • An additional letter of reference, sent separately to the address below (PDF). The deadline for applications for the 2017 fall program will be April 1, 2017.

6 Further information

Questions can be addressed to Please note that the Princeton Physics department also has a bridge program, which can be applied to at the same link given above, and which has a separate deadline. In practice, the activities of the post-baccaleaureate students in the physics and astrophysics departments are coordinated to some extent. For Physics, please review and contact Professor Herman Verlinde (