Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Introduction

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Faculty Affiliation

Arts and Science

Degree Programs Offered

Astronomy and Astrophysics

​​M​S​c​
PhD

​​Overview

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics is actively engaged in a wide range of observational and theoretical researc​h on solar system dynamics, stars, stellar systems, the interstellar medium, the Galaxy, galaxies, quasars, clusters of galaxies, cosmology, and problems in general relativity. The department has close ties with the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), the Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS), and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics (Dunlap). These ties provide great flexibility to students with a broad array of interests, giving them the option to work with a supervisor from one of these sibling units, and further enhance the opportunities for students to interact with leading researchers.

Faculty and students use the major optical, radio, and satellite observing facilities of the world. Of particular importance are the national facilities: the Canada France-Hawaii optical telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell radio telescope,​ and the Gemini telescopes located at the world's finest observing sites.

The Herschel Space Observatory and Planck were launched recently and will soon be followed by the James Webb Space Telescope and ALMA. The department has an active experimental program using telescopes on long-duration stratospheric balloons and a complementary program designing and building instrumentation for large optical telescopes, and for cosmological and Galactic research.

There are approximately 100 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, CITA, CPS, and Dunlap. Students benefit from direct interactions with the broad range of external speakers invited to weekly seminar programs and colloquia.

Contact and Address

Web: www.astro.utoronto.ca
Email: grad.sec@astro.utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 946-5243
Fax: (416) 946-7287

Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Toronto
50 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H4
Canada

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Graduate Faculty

Full Members

Abraham, Roberto - BSc, DPhil, FRSC
Artymowicz, Pawel - MS, PhD
Bond, J Richard - BSc, MS, PhD, FRSC, FRS
Bovy, Jo - MMath, PhD, CRC
Carlberg, Raymond - BSc, MS, PhD (Chair and Graduate Chair)
Gaensler, Bryan - PhD, CRC (Director, Dunlap)
Hlozek, Renee - PhD
Jayawardhana, Ray - BS, PhD
Lester, John - BA, MS, PhD
Lowman, Julian - BSc, MS, DPhil
Martin, Peter - BSc, MSc, PhD, FRSC, OC
Matzner, Christopher - BA, MA, PhD (Associate Chair, Graduate)
Menou, Kristen - BSc, MS, ScD (Director, CPS)
Moon, Dae-Sik - BS, MS, PhD
Murray, Norman - BSc, PhD, CRC
Netterfield, C. Barth - BSc, PhD
Pen, Ue-Li - BSc, PhD (Acting Director, CITA)
Pfeiffer, Harald - MSc, PhD, CRC
Rein, Hanno - MS, DPhil
Sivanandam, Suresh - PhD
Stanley, Sabine - BSc, PhD
Thompson, Christopher - BSc, PhD
Valencia, Diana - BS, MS, ScD
van Kerkwijk, Marten - MA, PhD
Vanderlinde, Keith - PhD
Wu, Yanqin - PhD (Associate Chair, Undergraduate)
Yee, Howard - BASc, PhD, FRSC

Members Emeriti

Clement, Christine - BSc, MA, PhD
Clement, Maurice - BSc, MSc, PhD
Dyer, Charles - BS, MSc, PhD
Fernie, John Donald - BSc, MSc, PhD, FRAS
Garrison, Robert - BA, PhD
Percy, John - BSc, MA, PhD
Rucinski, Slavek - MS, PhD, DSc
Seaquist, Ernest - BASc, MSc, PhD

Associate Members

Dubinski, John - BSc, MSc, PhD
Reid, Michael - BSc, MSc, PhD

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Astronomy and Astrophysics MSc

​Master of Science

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants must hold an appropriate bachelor's degree with high academic standing from a recognized university.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • Because many universities do not offer extensive undergraduate training in astronomy and astrophysics, preparation in physics and mathematics is an acceptable background.

Program Requirements

  • Completion of 2.0 required full-course equivalents (FCEs): AST 1501Y and AST 1500Y, with different supervisors. Students are immediately engaged in original research throughout these two required research courses. An oral exam by committee is held for each. AST 1501Y is normally completed during the Fall/Winter of Year 1, and AST 1500Y is completed in the following Summer session.

  • Minimum of 1.0 FCE (two half courses) from the AST preparatory, elective, or specialized courses.

  • More courses may be taken for credit or audited as appropriate.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Astronomy and Astrophysics PhD

Doctor of Philosophy​

Program Description

The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics offers dynamic and competitive doctoral programs which emphasize research.

Students may be accepted into the PhD program via one of two routes: 1) following completion of an appropriate master's degree or 2) direct entry following completion of a bachelor's degree.

 

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • Applicants may be accepted into the PhD program following completion of an MSc degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Toronto, or an MSc degree in another appropriate discipline or from elsewhere deemed equivalent, with an average of at least B+ or demonstrated comparable research competence.

  • Because many universities do not offer extensive undergraduate training in astronomy and astrophysics, preparation in physics and mathematics is an acceptable background.

Program Requirements

  • There is no minimum course requirement in the four-year program except for courses deemed necessary by the student's PhD supervisory committee.

  • Students register in the AST 4000Y Research course series (in sequence of the last digit: 2, 3, etc.) beginning in the Summer session of Year 1 and continue through the sequence through Year 4. The first registration, AST 4002Y, corresponds to the qualifying examinations. The series continues with registration each Fall/Winter, starting with AST4003Y and is incremented by one digit each subsequent academic year. This registration is tied to thesis research progress, which is assessed based on the two required annual PhD supervisory committee meetings in October and April.

  • Students must successfully complete the two parts of the PhD qualifying examinations: general knowledge and thesis proposal. Both are oral examinations conducted by a panel of faculty members. The general knowledge section evaluates the student's mastery of general astronomy and astrophysics. The thesis proposal section evaluates the feasibility and value of the proposed thesis, and verifies that the student has sufficient preparation in the relevant research area. It is based in part on a written summary of the proposed thesis provided by the student to the examiners. Both qualifying examinations are taken in the Summer session of Year 1.

  • A thesis embodying the results of original research which must be submitted for appraisal in accordance with the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Residence. Students are normally expected to be on campus full-time for the duration of the program.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics' additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

  • Students are accepted into the PhD program following completion of a bachelor's degree, with an average in the final two years equivalent to a University of Toronto A- or better from a recognized university

  • Because many universities do not offer extensive undergraduate training in astronomy and astrophysics, preparation in physics and mathematics is an acceptable background.

Program Requirements

  • Completion of 2.0 required full-course equivalents (FCEs): AST 1501Y and AST 1500Y, with different supervisors. Students are immediately engaged in original research throughout these two required research courses. AST 1501Y is normally completed during the Fall/Winter of Year 1, and AST 1500Y is completed in the following Summer session. An oral exam by committee is held for each.

  • A minimum of four half courses (2.0 FCEs) from the AST preparatory, elective, or specialized courses.

  • Students register in the AST 4000Y Research course series (in sequence of the last digit: 2, 3, etc,) beginning in the Summer session of Year 2 and continue the sequence through Year 5. The first registration, AST 4002Y, corresponds to the qualifying examinations. The series continues with registration each Fall/Winter, starting with AST4003Y and is incremented by one digit each subsequent academic year. This registration is tied to thesis research progress, which is assessed based on the two required annual PhD supervisory committee meetings in October and April.

  • Students must successfully complete the two parts of the PhD qualifying examinations: general knowledge and thesis proposal. Both are oral examinations conducted by a panel of faculty members. The general knowledge section evaluates the student's mastery of general astronomy and astrophysics. The thesis proposal section evaluates the feasibility and value of the proposed thesis, and verifies that the student has sufficient preparation in the relevant research area. It is based in part on a written summary of the proposed thesis provided by the student to the examiners. Both qualifying examinations are taken in the Summer session of Year 2.

  • A thesis embodying the results of original research which must be submitted for appraisal in accordance with the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

  • Residence. Students are normally expected to be on campus full-time for the duration of the program.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

Astronomy and Astrophysics: Astronomy and Astrophysics MSc, PhD Courses

Preparatory Courses

​AST 1410H
St​​​ars​
​AST 1420H
Galactic Structure and Dynamics​
​AST 1430H
Cosmology​
​AST 1440H
Radiation Processes and Gas Dynamics​

Research Courses

​AST 1500Y+
Directed Research​
​AST 1501Y
Introduction to Research​
​AST 4000Y+
Research ​(students register in this 4000Y series each year, beginning in​ Year 2, in sequence of the last digit: 2, 3, etc.)
AST 4002Y+ Research
AST 4003Y+ Research
AST 4004Y+ Research
AST 4005Y+ Research
AST 4006Y+ Research
AST 4007Y+ Research

+ Extended course. For academic reasons, coursework is extended into session following academic session in which course is offered.

Elective Courses

​AST 2010H
Physi​cs of Stellar Atmospheres​
​AST 2020H
Physics of Stellar Interiors​
​AST 2030H
Interstellar Medium and Star Formation​
​AST 2040H
Extragalactic Astronomy​
​AST 2050H
Observational Techniques​
​AST 2060H
General Relativity I: Theory​
​AST 2070H
General Relativity II: Applications and Cosmology​

Specialized Courses

​AST 3010H
​Advanced Topics in Stellar and Galactic Astronomy I​
​AST 3011H
​Advanced Topics in Stellar and Galactic Astronomy I​I
​AST 3020H
​Advanced Topics in Interstellar Matter and Star Formation I
​AST 3021H
​Advanced Topics in Interstellar Matter and Star Formation II
​AST 3030H
Advanced Topics in Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology I​
​AST 3031H
Advanced Topics in Extragalactic Astronomy​ and Cosmology II​
​AST 3050Y
Theoretical Cosmology​
​AST 3100H
​Lecture Series in Specialized Topics (mini courses)​