Admissions is an annual process, with an application deadline of December 15. All applications are submitted online. The elements of the application are:
- Statement of purpose (research interests and experience, career plans)
- Academic transcript
- Three letters of recommendation
- TOEFL results, for non-native English speakers
- Application fee (or a request for a fee waiver — see below).
- (Optional) General and Physics GRE scores (these are usually required, but will be optional for 2021/22 because of the ongoing pandemic)
- (Optional) A second essay to convey any relevant information not represented elsewhere in the application, such as personal experiences. Most applicants leave this blank.
- (Optional) Any other supporting materials, such as papers-in-progress. Most applicants leave this blank.
- There are no "cut-offs" on grades, GRE scores, etc.
- All applications will be read completely and carefully.
Application fee waivers:
We do not want the application fee to be a significant barrier to applying. Applicants may request fee waivers as follows:
- The Graduate School accepts requests for fee waivers from U.S. applicants with financial hardship.
- The Graduate School also accepts requests for fee waivers from any applicants who have attended one of about 40 participating programs such as the U.S. Military, QuestBridge, the National Society of Black Physicists, the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, the Peace Corps, the McNair Scholars, and the Princeton Prospective Ph.D. Preview.
Our Department has a limited number of fee waivers for international applicants with financial hardship, who are not covered in the previous two categories. Requests should be sent by December 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a CV, informal grade report, and statement of purpose. You will be notified by email within 3 days regarding your request.
Applicants to our Ph.D. program may also indicate their interest in being considered for a Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. This is a one-year, fully-funded fellowship that includes an offer of regular admission to the Astrophysics doctoral program the following year. The fellowship is intended for students who would benefit from an additional year of training. Among the possible reasons students may have for seeking admission to the Pre-Doc program are:
- There were limited opportunities for research or rigorous physics courses at their undergraduate institution.
- They come from a physics background and would benefit from extra time to study astronomy (or vice versa).
- They have been out of academia for a while and would benefit from extra time to re-adjust to the academic environment.
Incoming Pre-Docs work with faculty members to design a one-year academic plan, which may involve taking courses or developing research skills, depending on the student. Pre-Docs are fully integrated into our graduate student community from the moment they arrive. Members of groups who contribute to the department’s diversity — including members of groups that have been historically and are presently underrepresented in the United States (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, individuals from first generation/low income backgrounds) — are especially encouraged to apply.
Applicants who opt to be considered for the Pre-Doc program will still also be considered for regular admission; indicating interest in the Pre-Doc program does not decrease the chance of being chosen for regular admission.