How to Apply

The deadline for receipt of all materials is December 15, 2023.

Applications for the Fall 2024 semester opened in September 2023.  The Astronomy program does not offer Spring admission.

Most students apply for the PhD program and obtain the MS degree en route. We occasionally accept students for the MS degree only, but these tend to be special cases, for example funded by a short-term fellowship. We are also happy to consider transfers from other graduate programs and offer a fast-track to dissertation research after one year of coursework (or even zero in special circumstances) for students who already have an MA/MS degree.

We especially encourage students with personal and/or professional connections to Hawaii to apply.

The application process is online through the University of Hawaii System. Please read the instructions thoroughly. To begin the process, click the “Apply Here” button and, after logging in, enter the following:

  • Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Site: UH Manoa Main Campus
  • Application type: Graduate Studies
  • Admission Term: Fall 2024

Once you fill out the personal information here, you will be required to file the application fee of $100 before proceeding. If you are considering applying to the Astronomy program and need assistance with the application fee, you can consider applying for a need-based fee reimbursementThe deadline to apply for a fee reimbursement is November 17, 2023.

Once you finish the online application form, you will receive a link to a supplemental website for submitting additional required materials, as described in the video here. This will involve:

  1. Uploading your transcript(s)
  2. Submitting a personal statement: see below
  3. Sending links to your letter writers: 2 letters required and 3 letters are preferred. Recommenders can only submit their letters once you have finished and submitted your application.

All of your materials, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted by the application deadline.

Personal statement: This is very important.  Please describe your achievements and research experience, including any coding or instrumentation skills.  List your astronomical interests and any other information you think might be relevant to your application.  You are also welcome to provide links to papers or personal websites that provide more detail. Please aim for 2-3 pages. You can upload this under the “Statement of Objective” category on the aforementioned supplemental website for document submission.

GPA requirement: Students must satisfy the university’s application criteria, which include a grade point average of at least 3.0 (or the equivalent) in undergraduate course work and in all postgraduate-level or graduate course work.  In rare cases, students who demonstrate extraordinary ability and potential to succeed, yet do not quite meet these criteria, may be considered for admission.

GRE scores: General GRE and Physics GRE scores are optional for our admissions process.  It is up to individual applicants to decide whether to submit these (University of Hawaii Manoa, institution code = 4867).  For instance, students who feel that their grades or other aspects of their application materials do not fully demonstrate their potential for graduate study might consider submitting GRE scores.  Our admissions process uses a holistic approach, based on the totality of information for each applicant.  We do not employ GRE minimum cutoff values as part of our evaluation process, and lack of GRE scores will not be a strike against your application.  Due to the pandemic, we have not accepted GRE scores in recent years, so at this point we cannot provide numerical benchmarks to assist you in deciding whether to submit scores or not.

International students: Please review this page before applying.  Applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate English proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with exemptions listed here and minimum required scores here.  Test scores cannot be more than two years old.

For GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS scores, unofficial results can be submitted at this stage. If you are admitted, then official scores must be submitted before you can register for classes.

We usually make admissions decisions by early February.

If you have any questions, please contact our Graduate Chair at gradchair AT