Astrophysical Sciences and Technology MS

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 30 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

During the first year, most students begin a research project under the guidance of a faculty research adviser. Focus on the project becomes more significant during the second year, after the core courses have been completed. 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.

This is a STEM eligible program

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Keith Davis

Department Contact

Andrew Robinson, Program Director

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.


Astrophysical sciences and technology, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ASTP-608 Fundamentals of Astrophysics I 3
ASTP-609 Fundamentals of Astrophysics II 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   ASTP-613    Astrophysical Obervational Techniques and Instrumentation  
Choose one of the following: 3
   ASTP-610    Mathematical Methods for the Astrophysical Sciences  
ASTP-601 Graduate Seminar I 1
ASTP-602 Graduate Seminar II 1
ASTP-790 Research and Thesis 4
Second Year
Choose one of the following: 3
   ASTP-613    Astrophysical Obervational Techniques and Instrumentation  
Choose one of the following: 3
   ASTP-610    Mathematical Methods for the Astrophysical Sciences  
ASTP-790 Research and Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 30


Admission Requirements

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

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in the physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, or engineering.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 (or equivalent) in course work in mathematical, science, engineering, and computing subject areas.
  • Submit scores from the GRE.
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives.
  • Submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 79 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.


Additional information

MS to Ph.D. transfer

MS students who have excelled in their course work and research project may be permitted, by program approval, to transition into the doctoral program, with the MS thesis defense serving as the Ph.D. qualifying examination. Such a transition from MS to Ph.D. 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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