Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences

Graduate students make extensive use of such research facilities as the Apache Point 3.5m telescope, NASA space missions, the Sommers-Bausch Observatory and the Southwest Research Institute. They collaborate closely with such CU Boulder research institutes as the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA), Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), and JILA in Boulder. Related areas of study are physics, geology, and the program of atmospheric and oceanic sciences (PAOS).

Degrees Offered


Degree Details


Requires 37 semester hours of graduate work, including 4 hours of graduate seminar, an additional 30 hours of dissertation credit (all with grades B or above), plus a demonstrated ability to do original research. We require a comprehensive examination of math, physics, astrophysics or planetary science, and a scientific research project. A grasp of the student’s particular area of research is required, as is the dissertation and successful defense.

Admissions Requirements

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation;
  • Submit directly from ETS test scores from the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the General Record Examination (GRE), as well as the Physics GRE.

There is no pre-application, but we strongly urge all applicants to have a strong physics and mathematics background, as well as a strong GPA, and strong GRE scores.

GRE Scores

GRE minimum scores of verbal 75 percent, quantitative 85 percent, analytical 75 percent. Advanced GRE minimum score approximately 40 percent.

Fall Domestic Application Deadline

December 15, 2016

Fall International Application Deadline

December 1, 2016

Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder 
Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
Duane Physics E-226
391 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0391
Phone: 303-492-8914
Fax: 303-492-3822

Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences website