Astronomy, PhD

Saint Mary’s University is the major centre for astronomical and astrophysical research in Atlantic Canada. It offers degree programs leading to the M.Sc. (Astronomy) and to the Ph.D. (Astronomy).

The Ph.D. program is a four year program including dissertation research.

Admission Requirements

The M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Astronomy programs follow the general admission requirements and procedures of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research as outlined in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar with the following additional requirements and procedures.

All students entering the Astronomy graduate program require a B.Sc. or equivalent, in Astronomy, Mathematics, or Physics. Students with a B.Sc. or equivalent intending to pursue a Ph.D. enter the Astronomy graduate program at the M.Sc. level. Students with an M.Sc. may enter the Astronomy graduate program at the Ph.D. level, and may be given course transfer credits for equivalent Saint Mary’s University graduate level astronomy courses taken elsewhere.

Applications to the Astronomy graduate programs can be made at any time of the year.  Highest priority for fall admission will be given to applications received by February 1st of the preceding winter. Applications may be obtained at  Prospective students who are in doubt about their qualifications should contact the graduate coordinator:

Students may apply for full-time or part-time status. Under special circumstances and subject to department approval, new or existing students may enrol in the program on a part-time basis. Admission and degree requirements for part-time students are the same as for full-time students, but part-time students are not guaranteed full financial support.

In addition, students applying for admission into the astronomy Ph.D. program are normally required to have an M.Sc., or equivalent in Astronomy, Physics, or related field. Students, who do not yet have an M.Sc. degree, are required to enter the astronomy M.Sc. program first and then reapply for admission to the Ph.D. program when they have completed their M.Sc. degree. Optionally, before starting the second year of the M.Sc. degree, a student may apply to enter the PhD in Astronomy Program. Applications will be subject to approval by the Department and the Dean of the FGSR. If approved, the student does not take the M.Sc. thesis course, and no M.Sc. degree is conferred. On the start of the second year, the student would enter the first year of the Ph.D. program. Applicants to this program, whose first language is not English, must demonstrate their English language proficiency as outlined in Graduate Academic Regulation 1e with the following additional requirement: a TOEFL (iBT) score of at least 100, with no individual band below 20; or an IELTS score of at least 7.0, with no band below 6.5.

Financial Support

Full-time students admitted to the program may be eligible for funding administered by Saint Mary’s University. Funding recommendations are made by the program All successful applicants are automatically considered for graduate funding. Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships.