Last updated March 2024

Class registration is done through the MyUH website’s STAR system, with documentation here about making an account. Usually in mid-August, MyUH will open for registration for a week specifically for incoming new students, and after that there is a 3-4 day period for all returning students. If you do not register by the first day of classes each semester, you will be fined for late registration (~$30). Information about the process is here:

We also keep an internal webpage for the astronomy class schedule, which incorporates any room/time changes that occur during the semester for our graduate classes (as these typically do not get updated in the UH official course listings).

Tuition and Fees

Graduate students with RA or TA appointments (which is usually all IfA grad students) have tuition waivers. These are ordinarily processed before the start of the semester. If you encounter problems, please contact the Graduate Chair.

You will still need to pay the mandatory student fees, which currently run about $450. You can pay online with a debit or credit card (on MyUH, look at the links on the left panel, under Student Records, click on View Charges/Make Payment). The student fees cover access to the campus gym and provide a bus pass during the academic year, as well as free admission to all sports events.

Selecting Classes and Grading Options

The description of required classes and their distribution are given in the “Formal Requirements” and “Coursework” sections of the PhD program description. You should consult with the Graduate Chair before the start of each semester to discuss your class choices and confirm that you are on track to fulfill all the requirements.

Students need to take 30 credits to fulfill the university’s requirement to advance to candidacy. Since 7 credits of ASTR 699 are taken in the first two years, students need to take at least 23 credits of astronomy-related 600 and 700-level courses in order to satisfy the university PhD requirements.

These classes must be taken for a letter grade, and not CR/NC. The exceptions are classes that only offer the CR/NC grading option, which are currently AST 601 (Professional Development), AST 790 (Astro-ph seminar), and AST 791 (Cosmology seminar) — these can count towards fulfilling your requirements.

We have the following policy for ASTR 699:

  • ASTR 699 directed research courses taken to satisfy the MS and PhD research requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
  • ASTR 699 courses taken during the 5th semester (when a student is preparing their thesis proposal) should be taken CR/NC.

No grade of any kind is awarded for ASTR 800.

Number of Credits per Semester

The number of credits required by University rules depends on your academic status:

  • Students holding graduate assistantships need at least six credits per semester.
  • If you want to take more than 9 credits in a semester, you will need approval from the Graduate Chair and then should complete this form. (The full policy is explained here.) If you are already doing research, you should also take with your faculty advisor about this.
  • Students not holding graduate assistantships (which is very rare for IfA graduate students) need a minimum of eight credits per semester.
  • Students who have completed their coursework but do not have an approved PhD proposal should sign up for six credits of ASTR 699 per semester with your planned PhD advisor unless you are taking other courses. (This typically occurs during a student’s fifth semester.)
  • Students who have an approved PhD proposal (a.k.a. advanced to candidacy) should sign up only for one credit of ASTR 800 with their PhD advisor.

Course Registration Numbers

Course registration numbers (CRN) are listed in the UH course catalog.

For research-based courses (ASTR 699, 700, and 800) a different CRN is needed for each instructor each semester. These numbers are distributed by the Graduate Chair shortly before the start of the semester.

If you need to register for ASTR 800 during the Summer (which is typically only for last-year students graduating during the summer), consult with the Graduate Chair to get the CRN. This will be the Dean of Graduate Division’s CRN.

Variable-Credit Classes (AST 699, AST 734/5/6)

ASTR 699 and ASTR 734/5/6 are taken for different numbers of credits each semester.  When you initially register for a variable-credit class in STAR, the default setting is 1 credit.  After you have registered, if you wish to change the number of credits from 1 to 2 or more, you must perform a second separate step — this is located in the class’s settings next to grading format (letter grade vs. CR/NC).   Slides #24 & 25 of this help-tutorial contain screenshots that illustrate how to do this. 

For ASTR 699 research projects, the number of credits should be set as follows:

  • Year 1 students in the spring semester should sign up for 2 credits with their research advisor.
  • Year 2 students in the fall semester should sign up for 1 credit with their 699-1 advisor and 2 credits with their 699-2 advisor. You will need to arrange an override to sign up for the same course with two different instructors – send your UH ID number (or username) and the two ASTR 699 CRN numbers to Mike Nassir.
  • Year 2 students in the spring semester should sign up for 2 credits with their 699-2 advisor.

If you are a second-year graduate student and already on track to fulfill all course requirements (described above) and the 30-credit minimum, then you may take additional AST 699 credits to meet the semesterly 6-credit minimum.

For ASTR 734/5/6 classes, the number of credits for the current semester’s offerings are listed here.

Registering Late (or Changing Credits) for a Class

The normal deadline to register for a class is about 1 week into the start of the semester. It is still possible to add a class after this deadline, with the instructor’s permission. To do so, use the “Add a Course” form available from the Registrar’s website. The same form is used to change the number of credits for a variable-credit class. There is also a corresponding “Drop a Course” form.

Fill in all the student and course info, sign the form, get the signatures of the instructor and the Grad Chair, and then submit to Graduate Division office in the 3rd floor of Spalding Hall.

Registration for Summer Session

Graduate students do not need to register for Summer Session unless they wish to receive their PhD degree at the August commencement exercises, in which case they need to register for one credit of ASTR 800 (instructor is the Dean of Graduate Division, Julie Maeda), which spans the full 12-week summer session. Contact the Grad Chair to get the CRN.

If you hold a graduate assistantship, you may use the associated tuition waiver to register for up to six credits of summer school courses.

To obtain a summer tuition waiver:

Graduate assistants using the summer tuition waiver cannot register until the first day of class for each summer session, i.e., the late registration period. (If you have registered before the first day of each session you must cancel your registration and re-register on the first day of the class. If you register before the first day of classes and pay out of pocket you will not be reimbursed).