Ritter Astrophysical Research Center

Graduate Students at AAS

The role of the graduate program in astronomy is to train students to transition to successful future careers. The astronomy group at the University of Toledo is known nationally and internationally for the quality of its research, and for strong mentoring of graduate students. Our alumni have gone on to have distinguished careers as professors and researchers at major academic institutions and international observatories, as data scientists, faculty at undergraduate institutions, as planetarium directors and industry, and into the financial world.

What to expect

Our Ph.D. program is designed to provide students with a broad foundation in physics and astronomy and to help them develop the tools to become strong, independent researchers.


The first few years of the graduate program require a number of courses and exams. These traditional portions of our program serve multiple roles. The goal of the two formal exams, the "Qualifier" and the "Comprehensive", are to help students progress through their coursework and pull together the big picture for their dissertation research.


The plan of study includes formal coursework, participation in our Astronomy Bag Lunch series and attending the department Colloquium series. View the overview and list of coursework required for a Ph.D. degree.


Read the full application details on the department's prospectives page.


The College of Graduate Studies offers the Prestigious “University Fellowship” every year to in-coming graduate students with exceptional academic records. This award includes a stipend, and pays instructional, general, and all student fees. It can be received for up to four years (as long as significant progress is made towards the degree). To apply, please visit the COGS fellowships page

The Doreen and Lyman Spitzer Graduate Fellowship in Astrophysics supports the research of exceptional students at the start of their graduate careers, giving fellows the opportunity to engage in more research, earlier.  All prospective astrophysics PhD applicants are automatically considered for this fellowship. 

Observatory and Planetarium Assistantships

Our department offers one graduate assistantship to support the planetarium and one to support the one-meter telescope. These provide excellent training for students interested in going into the Planetarium industry or to international observatories, we have placed several graduates in these career paths. Please contact Prof. Mike Cushing (michael.cushing@utoledo.edu) or Prof. Jon Bjorkman (jon.bjorkman@utoledo.edu).

Last Updated: 7/15/24