Information for Prospective Students


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Program Areas

Prospective students are encouraged to review current research areas at the Research Focus site and to contact faculty to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

Available Research Opportunities

  • 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

Application Criteria

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.

To learn about required coursework and steps to degree, review the PTYS Ph.D. degree requirements and the PTYS core course requisites. Additional information about degree requirements and available courses and course descriptions is available from the Graduate Program page.

More information about admissions is available below and also from the Learn How To Apply site.

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.

For more information on the DLC and its members, visit the Department Life Committee page.

Fall 2025 Admissions Update

Application deadline: TBA


Contact us at PG4gdWVycz0iem52eWdiOm5xenZmZnZiYWZAeWN5Lm5ldm1iYW4ucnFoIj5ucXp2ZmZ2YmFmQHljeS5uZXZtYmFuLnJxaDwvbj4= with questions regarding the application process.

The application for the Fall 2025 semester will open during the fall of 2024 with exact dates to be announced in the coming months.

The University of Arizona recognizes that for Spring 2020, many schools offered students a P/F option for courses previously using letter grades; the Graduate College will accept these grades and will convert them accordingly as part of the application review.
Offers of admission are typically extended in late January. Admitted students are invited to attend a hosted two-day open house, usually scheduled for late February or early March. During the visit, prospective students will have the opportunity to attend classes, meet faculty and students, and tour facilities. Financial support for matriculating students is confirmed by early June; students also receive at that time information about campus orientations. Incoming students will meet with the Graduate Admission and Advising Committee in August to discuss and confirm enrollment and advising and review any outstanding questions about the program and the department.

LPL and Our Communities

About LPL

Welcome to the University of Arizona’s Department of Planetary Sciences (PTYS) and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL).

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