Information for Prospective Students
Thank you for your interest in graduate studies at LPL!
The department offers multidisciplinary programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in planetary sciences. Areas of specialization include, but are not restricted to:
- the experimental, observational, and theoretical study of the atmospheres of planets in our solar system and other planetary systems
- the interiors and surfaces of planets and planetary satellites
- asteroid and cometary astronomy and physics
- meteorites and samples returned by spacecraft from other solar system objects
- 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. Information about the program and completion requirements is available on the Documents for Current & Prospective Students page.
Student Funding and Support
Although we cannot make any guarantee, 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/University.
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.