Ph.D. On Campus

Astronomy and Planetary Science

Northern Arizona University

24 months
25708 USD/year
25708 USD/year
10480 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Astronomy and Planetary Sciences program of the Northern Arizona University is designed to provide students with a broad technical understanding of the dominant physical, chemical, and geological processes that control stellar and planetary systems while requiring students to have and present detailed mastery of their specific research topic within the field of astronomy and planetary science.


Purpose Statement

The Astronomy and Planetary Sciences program of the Northern Arizona University leverages state-of-the-art resources found in Arizona, and especially one of a kind facilities near Flagstaff, to deliver a unique and distinct graduate education that cannot be found in Arizona’s other state universities. 

The Department of Physics and Astronomy will partner with Lowell Observatory, United States Geological Survey (USGS) Astrogeology Science Center, United States Naval Observatory, and the Naval Research Laboratory, as well as the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) and the Naval Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI), all in or near Flagstaff. This program also capitalizes on the wide range of nearby geologic environments (including Meteor Crater) to enable terrestrial and analog planetary science investigations.

Students will build skills and knowledge through formal class work and an original research project. Core coursework will focus on the development of essential skills PhD astronomers and planetary scientists need upon entering the workforce in an academic or industrial setting (instrument design and fabrication, optical design, computational approaches, big data, remote sensing, and/or techniques of observational astronomy).

These courses will focus on advanced topics in astronomy and planetary science that students need for a solid foundation upon which to build their own postdoctoral research (formation and evolution of solar systems, atmospheres, interiors, and surfaces of planetary bodies, astro-chemistry, exoplanet science, and other topics). 

In addition, students will perform their own original research, write a dissertation, and make an oral, public presentation of their results. In the original research component, students will learn how to collect and analyze data, write up their results, and communicate their results to others in a manner consistent with professional standards in the astronomical and planetary science communities.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Spectroscopy
  • Planetary Science
  • Astrochemistry
  • Dissertation

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines


60 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA

Other requirements

General requirements

  • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs.
  • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
  • Transcripts
  • English language proficiency

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    25708 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 25708 USD per year during 24 months.
  • National

    25708 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 25708 USD per year during 24 months.
  • In-State

    10480 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 10480 USD per year during 24 months.

Living costs for Flagstaff

1010 - 1500 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Astronomy and Planetary Science
Northern Arizona University


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