Prospective students are encouraged to review current research areas at the Research Focus site and to contact faculty to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Areas of specialization include, but are not restricted to:
- experimental, observational, and theoretical study of the atmospheres of planets in our solar system and other planetary systems
- interiors and surfaces of planets and planetary satellites
- asteroid and cometary astronomy and physics
- meteorites and sample returns
- problems of plasma physics associated with cosmic rays
- the solar wind and its interaction with solar system bodies
- celestial dynamics
- solar physics
- investigations of the formation of the solar system and other planetary systems
- studies of the habitability of planets and moons in our solar system and of exoplanets, and other investigations of astrobiological topics
Applicants should have completed an undergraduate major in a physical science such as astronomy, atmospheric sciences, chemistry, geology, mathematics, or physics. However, admission is based on the overall demonstrated capability and preparation of the applicant.
Student Funding and Support
It is the department's intention to provide up to five (5) years of financial support (fall and spring semesters) towards completion of the Ph.D., contingent upon availability of funding and the student's making satisfactory academic progress and remaining in good academic standing with the department and the Graduate College.
In most cases, this support will be provided in either the form of a half-time (20 hours per week, .50 FTE) Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a half-time Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) for the fall and spring semesters. Most of our students supplement this department support (fall and spring support) by independently arranging for full-time summer GRA appointments.
It is the policy of the department to provide students who receive an outside fellowship or scholarship with sufficient support in assistantships so that the total benefits package will be at least comparable to that of someone with a .50 FTE GTA or GRA who receives a summer GRA stipend. Summer GRAs are typically available, but are not guaranteed by the department.
Incoming graduate students are provided with computing resources in support of academics and basic research, and students have access to university computing systems and resources. Research advisors may provide additional, advanced, computing resources.
Statement on Diversity
Science can succeed only if there is diversity—diversity of ideas, of perspectives, and of individuals. We at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) value diversity in all of its forms. LPL strives to address inherent problems that exist within planetary science, and academia in general. LPL is at the forefront of planetary and space sciences, and as such must stand as an ally to and in solidarity with its community members regardless of race, national origin, immigration status, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, intellectual and physical ability, income, faith and non-faith perspectives, socio-economic class, political ideology, education, primary language, family status, military experience, cognitive style, and communication style, and with all people who intersect these groups. We strongly believe that the science and knowledge we pursue every day is a human pursuit strengthened through the participation of these historically minoritized groups.
To help raise awareness, provide resources, and produce an accessible platform for these problems, we developed the Department Life Committee (DLC). Our DLC and wider LPL community is committed to creating a working environment at LPL that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all.
For more information on the DLC and its members, visit the Department Life Committee page.
Fall 2022 Admissions Update
LPL and Our Communities
Welcome to the University of Arizona’s Department of Planetary Sciences (PTYS) and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL).
LPL at a Glance
Excellence in research, education, and engagement.
LPL and Our Communities
The University of Arizona’s more than 100 centers and institutes provide researchers with the infrastructure necessary to achieve far-reaching impacts. These institutions foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, government, and industry, opening opportunities for research to influence public policy and contribute to economic development in Arizona and beyond.