All of my required documents have been submitted to the online application; why is my application still showing a status of “Documents Pending”?

“Documents Pending” is the default status after payment of the application fee until approximately December 21st. Unfortunately, the online system doesn’t automatically move the status from “Documents Pending” to “Under Review” upon receipt of all the required application materials. This is updated manually on the department side after the close of the admissions deadline.

Will I be considered for admissions if I don’t have an undergraduate degree in astronomy or astrophysics?

Since many universities do not offer extensive undergraduate training in astronomy and astrophysics, preparation in physics and mathematics is considered an acceptable background. We do not have precise requirements on the prerequisite coursework but advise that you have a solid mathematical foundation and a significant number of upper level physics courses, preferably including electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Please note that in addition to academic excellence in affinity coursework, the Admissions Committee will place a strong emphasis on related research experience (e.g. a directed-research course, research lab experience, publications – in particular refereed journals) which serves as an indicator of the applicant’s ability to engage in doctoral level research. The Admissions Committee will determine whether an applicant has sufficient background based on the application as a whole.

Do you offer an MSc degree program?

Since the main focus of our graduate programs is doctoral research, our default entry point for an applicant with a qualifying bachelor’s degree is the direct-entry PhD program. Our direct-entry PhD program is structured as five years with the first year of study akin to a master’s curriculum.

We only admit students to the MSc degree program in rare instances, such as if an applicant were to have an exceptional research record but fell just short of the minimum GPA requirement for the direct-entry PhD (which is the highest standard GPA). In this case, the Admissions Committee would make the assessment, and the applicant degree track could be changed at that time. The intent is to then transition the student from MSc to PhD after upon satisfactory completion of the master’s.

Do I need to find a research supervisor during the application stage?

You do not need to find a research supervisor during the application stage. We do not admit students at the onset to work with a particular faculty member. Our direct-entry graduate students are supported in their first year entirely by University and Departmental fellowships and teaching assistantships. Students are required to obtain a research (thesis) supervisor during second year of the PhD program (first year for students entering the regular PhD program with a MSc degree). For full details on funding, please refer to the Financial Support section.

Is there a January admissions round?

We do not hold a January admissions round. Applicants are only admitted for September start dates.