Astrophysical Sciences and Technology MS

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Keith Davis

Department Contact

Andrew Robinson, Ph.D.

Admission Deadlines & Requirements

Program Available Online? No
Application Deadline Priority deadline February 15, rolling thereafter
Admit Term Fall/Spring
Entrance Exam GRE
English Language Exams:
TOEFL (Internet) 79
PTE Academic 58


Priority deadline - COMPLETE applications that are received by this date are given priority consideration for admission and financial aid (if applicable). Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Rolling - There is no specific deadline for applications; applications will be accepted and reviewed throughout the year until the program reaches capacity.

Program overview

There has never been a more exciting time to study the universe beyond the confines of the Earth. A new generation of advanced ground-based and space-borne telescopes and enormous increases in computing power are enabling a golden age of astrophysics. The MS program in astrophysical sciences and technology focuses on the underlying physics of phenomena beyond the Earth, and on the development of the technologies, instruments, data analysis, and modeling techniques that will enable the next major strides in the field. The program's multidisciplinary emphasis sets it apart from conventional astrophysics graduate programs at traditional research universities.

Plan of study

The MS program comprises a minimum of 32 credit hours of study. The curriculum consists of four core courses, two to four elective courses, two semesters of graduate seminar, and a research project culminating in a thesis.

Master's thesis

Typically following the first year, but sometimes initiated during the first year for well-prepared students, candidates begin a research project under the guidance of a faculty research adviser. A thesis committee is appointed by the program director and consists of the student's adviser and at least two additional members, one of whom must be a faculty member in the astrophysical sciences and technology program. The final examination of the thesis consists of a public oral presentation by the student, followed by questions from the audience. The thesis committee privately questions the candidate following the presentation. The committee caucuses immediately following the examination and thereafter notifies the candidate and the program director of the results.


Astrophysical sciences and technology, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ASTP-613 Astronomical Observational Techniques and Instrumentation 3
ASTP-617 Astrophysical Dynamics 3
ASTP-760 Introduction to Relativity and Gravitation 3
ASTP-601, 602 Graduate Seminar I, II 2
ASTP-615 Radiative Processes for Astrophysical Sciences 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   ASTP-610    Mathematical Methods for the Astrophysical Sciences  
   ASTP-611    Statistical Methods for Astrophysics  
ASTP-730 Stellar Structure and Atmospheres 3
Second Year
ASTP-740 Galactic Astrophysics 3
ASTP-790 Research and Thesis 6
ASTP-750 Extragalactic Astrophysics 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 32


Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in astrophysical sciences and technology, a candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in a physical science, mathematics, computer science, or engineering from an accredited college or university,
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2/4.0 in course work in mathematical, science, engineering, or computer subject areas,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Submit two letters of recommendation,
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives,
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae,
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 79 (internet-based) is required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores will be accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 6.5. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit

For candidates lacking adequate academic preparation or for those who hold a bachelor's degree in an area other than those listed above, bridge and foundation course work may be necessary prior to full admission.

Additional information

MS to Ph.D. transfer

Students making good progress in their course work and research project may be permitted, by program approval, to attempt the Ph.D. qualifying examination. Upon successfully passing the exam, students may choose to transfer to the Ph.D. program rather than pursue a terminal master of science degree. This is contingent on the availability of an adviser and research funding.

Career Outcomes

The RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website provides information pertaining to student skills and capabilities, salary data, career information, job outcomes, and contact information for the Career Services Coordinator by program.

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