How To Apply

Welcome prospective graduate students! We are glad you are interested in choosing UC Berkeley to assist in your pursuit of higher education.

How to Apply 

The Graduate Division’s Online Application is available now at this link . Please note the Department of Astronomy admits new graduate students for the Fall Semester only.

Fee Waiver: U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for a waiver of the application fee. See guidelines for waivers.

The deadline to apply for Fall 2024 admission is December 4th, 2023.

The application process is entirely online. Please read the application instructions thoroughly. All supporting material, including your transcripts, should be uploaded to your application. Your application will be reviewed with your unofficial transcripts and students are encouraged to send their updated transcripts that include their Fall grades when available. If you are recommended for admission to the Astrophysics PhD program, you must submit official copies of your transcript for final approval of your admission by Graduate Division’s Graduate Admissions Office.

Our review process begins in early December. We typically expect to make offers of admission by the end of February or beginning of March.

A Note on the GREs

The GRE is no longer required nor accepted.

Brief Guidelines for the Statement of Purpose

Please describe in a maximum of two pages (font 12pts or larger, 1-inch margin on all sides):

  • Your aptitude and motivation for Astrophysics.
  • Your preparation in Math, Physics, Computing Science and/or Astronomy.
  • Describe in detail your research experience in Astrophysics (if any), including projects in class settings, mentioning explicitly what new skills/knowledge you acquired in the process. If you worked within a group/team, be specific about what your contribution/role was.
  • Your current research interests, in relation to research done at UC Berkeley.
  • Your academic plans, ambitions, and future career goals.
  • Be specific about why UC Berkeley Astronomy would be a good intellectual fit for you.

Brief Guidelines for the Personal History Statement

Please describe in a maximum of one page (font 12pts or larger, 1-inch margin on all sides):

  • The factors and experiences that have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree in Astronomy in your recent past (i.e., the last few yrs).
  • How you have overcome barriers to access higher education (if applicable), or how you have overcome challenges in higher education (if any).
  • Your efforts (including research and academic service) to advance equitable access to higher education for racial minorities, gender minorities, and/or individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.
  • With specific examples, describe what role  leadership, grit, perseverance and resilience have had in your academic journey so far.

While writing this essay, please remember that this document will be read by many faculty in the Astronomy department.

International Students

All applicants from countries and regions in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the U.S. university.

We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. We do not accept the TOEFL ITP Plus for Mainland China or Duolingo. For Fall 2022, tests taken before June 1, 2020 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley. The institution code for UC Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Programs.

For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT), and 570 for the paper-based format (PBT). The IBT emphasizes integrated skills so its format and scoring are different from the PBT version of the TOEFL. Please plan to take the TOEFL as soon as possible, regardless of the test’s format, to avoid delays in the review of your application.

You can also submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

All IELTS scores must be sent electronically from the testing center, no institution code is required. Our address for identification purposes is: University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall Rm 318, MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. Please do not mail any score reports to us.

For Fall 2022, tests taken before June 1, 2020 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

International applicants may convert their GPAs to the 4.0 scale used by UC Berkeley, but doing so is optional. For conversion, please follow these instructions: International GPA Conversion

Email Astrophysics Graduate Admissions.

When reviewing applications, the committee takes a holistic evaluation process and uses transcripts, statements, resumes, writing samples, and reference letters to look for evidence of proficiency in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and written communication. 

After reading the above material, if you have further questions on admission to our program, you can send e-mail to

Mailing Address

Department of Astronomy
501 Campbell Hall #3411
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3411

Graduate Admission FAQs

Please visit our Student Services page for Graduate Admission FAQ’s.