Academics & Coursework Schedule

The outline below illustrates the recommended schedule of coursework and departmental requirements towards completing a Ph.D. All students are required to take the five required core courses.

For more information about planetary astronomy at CU, visit the Planetary Program's website . For more detailed information on examination timelines, see the Important Information page.

Year 1: Fall

Coursework

Support

Requirements & Main Activities

  • Core: Atomic & Molecular Processes, Math Methods.
  • Planetary Elective: Origins (even years), or Surfaces and Interiors (odd years).
  • Astrophysics Elective: Origins or Cosmology (even years), or ISM/Star Formation or Astrophysical Plasmas (odd years).
  • Space Physics Elective: Fluids 2 (even years), or Astrophysical Plasmas (odd years).
  • Teaching (TA) or Research (RA) Assistantship -- Usually TA
  • Planetary Geology Fieldtrip (optional)

Year 1: Spring

Coursework

Support

Requirements & Main Activities

  • Core: Fluids; Observations, Data Analysis, & Statistics
  • Planetary Elective: Atmospheres (even years), or Special Topics (odd years).
  • Astrophysics Elective: Galaxies or Stellar Astrophysics (even years), or High Energy or Instrumentation (odd years).
  • Space Physics Elective: Magnetospheres (even years), or Solar/Stellar Magnetism (odd years).
  • Teaching (TA) or Research (RA) Assistantship -- Usually TA
  • Scout research groups for summer support

 

Year 1: Summer

  • Support: RA

Year 2: Fall

Coursework

Support

Requirements & Main Activities

  • Core: Radiative & Dynamical Processes.
  • Planetary Elective: Origins (even years), or Surfaces and Interiors (odd years).
  • Astrophysics Elective: Origins or Cosmology (even years), or ISM/Star Formation or Astrophysical Plasmas (odd years).
  • Space Physics Elective: Fluids 2 (even years), or Astrophysical Plasmas (odd years).
  • Teaching (TA) or Research (RA) Assistantship -- Usually RA

Year 2: Spring

Coursework

Support

Requirements & Main Activities

  • Electives

 

  • Teaching (TA) or Research (RA) Assistantship -- Usually RA

Year 2: Summer

Year 3: Fall

Subsequent Years

  • Coursework: Coursework is usually completed after 5 semesters in our department.
  • Support: Support is usually through an RA, though many graduate students will occasionally TA in later years for additional experience or salary.
  • Terminal Masters: A graduate student can choose to complete their Comps 1 and 2 and then exit the program with a M.S. degree.
  • Thesis: Thesis work usually begins immediately following the Comps 2 examination. It is encouraged to be on a different project with a different advisor. Average time to completion is 5.5 years.
  • At least once a year, students, with their advisor, are expected to arrange a meeting with 3-4 of their thesis committee members.

The APS Faculty have established a standard syllabus for each of the 5 core required classes:

Course Information

Our department offers a variety of courses, both elective and required. Please see the Course Information page for more details.