5: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Programs and Degrees Offered | Admission Information
Financial Assistance | Graduate Academic Regulations
Requirements for Specific Graduate Degrees | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Non-Departmental | Anthropology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern | Asian Studies | Astronomy
Biochemistry | Biology | Biological and Physical Sciences | Biophysics | Cell and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Commerce | Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences
French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs | Health Evaluation Sciences | History | Linguistics
Mathematics | Microbiology | Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics | Music | Neuroscience
Pharmacology | Philosophy | Physics | Psychology | Religious Studies | Russian and East European Studies
Slavic | Sociology | Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | Surgery

Department of Astronomy
Course Descriptions | Departmental Degree Requirements

Departmental Degree Requirements

Graduate Study   The department offers a broad program emphasizing theoretical and observational astrophysics, astrometry, and radio astronomy. Courses in physics and mathematics are also required to complement a studentís studies. Most students take three or four courses per semester during the first two years and perhaps one in the third year.

We encourage students to become involved in research as early as possible. A student is expected to work closely with members of the faculty on research topics in an arrangement rather like an apprenticeship, since this allows the student to gain competence and independence in a relatively short period of time. Most student research projects produce published papers. First- and second-year students ordinarily take three credits of research each semester under ASTR 995.

The requirements for the M.A. degree are that the student (1) successfully complete 24 graduate course credits, including six credits of ASTR 995 (Directed Research); (2) pass the qualifying examination for the M.A. degree, given in January of the first year; and (3) submit a written description their research. This last requirement is waived if the studentís research is accepted for publication by a refereed journal and the student is a principal author. Normally, the M.A. degree is awarded at the end of the first year of studies.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires successful completion of 54 graduate credits. The qualifying examination for the Ph.D. is given in January of the second year. The studentís entire record, including the qualifying examinations, course work, and indications of research potential, is considered by the graduate faculty when recommendations for Ph.D. degree candidacy are made in February of the second year. There is no language requirement for either the M.A. or Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. students are expected to complete their dissertations by the end of their sixth year, and financial aid is generally not continued beyond the sixth year.

Facilities   Local observing facilities include a 100-cm Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope and a conventional 75-cm reflector at Fan Mountain, 25 km to the southwest of Charlottesville. These are equipped for CCD imagery, photometry, spectroscopy, and direct photography. On the Grounds is the Leander McCormick Observatory 66-cm refractor, which began operations in 1885, and its collection of 140,000 astrometric photographic plates, which represents a major astronomical resource. A computer-controlled PDS microdensitometer for analysis of photographic plates is available. The department also operates a cooperative observing program at Mt. Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, Australia.

The department provides excellent computing and image processing facilities based on a local network of Sun UNIX workstations and the Universityís IBM UNIX workstations. Supercomputer access at national laboratories is readily available via faculty sponsorship.

The offices of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory are located on the University Grounds, and it is possible for students to be jointly supervised by University and NRAO scientific staff members. Faculty and students often collaborate with astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA-Goddard, the Naval Observatory, and other conveniently accessible research centers in the Washington-Baltimore area.

For further information, please write Astronomy Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 3818, University Station, Charlottesville, VA 22903-0818; or dept@astsun.astro.virginia.edu.

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