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UVA Bridge to the Doctorate Program in Astronomy

**SEPTEMBER 2023: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has paused  applications for the Bridge Program. Please visit the GSAS website for more information and updates.

The Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia encourages underrepresented students that would like to pursue a doctorate in astronomy or astrophysics to apply to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Bridge to the Doctorate Fellows program for enrollment in Fall 2023.

The Astronomy faculty is committed to mentoring a diverse group of students. We participate in several research experiences for undergraduate student summer programs, including the UVA-Spelman Summer Research Program (, and the VA-NC Alliance summer programs (

Through the Bridge Program, we will provide students an opportunity to prepare for admission to a graduate program in astronomy, astrophysics, or a closely related field. The Bridge Program will support post-baccalaureate students from groups that are underrepresented in astronomy and astrophysics and who have not had sufficient training and research experiences to prepare them for admission to a doctoral program.

Program Format

The Bridge Program provides two full years of fellowship support for students to enroll in a combination of courses, supervised research, and UVA’s intensive graduate student professional development curriculum known as “PhD Plus.” No teaching responsibilities will be required.

For information on our graduate program in astronomy, please see our page on Graduate Studies in Astronomy.

Financial Support

Students will receive $24,000 per year in living support and full payment of their tuition, fees and single-person coverage in the University’s student health insurance plan for a period of two years.


Each bridge fellow will work individually with faculty to develop a customized academic plan that will identify opportunities for additional coursework, that will develop research skills specific to astronomy and astrophysics, and will develop a competitive portfolio for applying to doctoral programs.


For more information on the requirements to apply, see the Bridge to the Doctorate program website.

For admission to the Astronomy Bridge Program, students should have a baccalaureate degree in astronomy, physics, mathematics, or a closely related STEM field. Students must have completed Calculus I and Calculus II. Multivariable calculus and additional mathematics courses are strongly encouraged. Students must have completed at least two semesters of introductory, calculus-based, physics. Additional intermediate or upper-level physics courses are strongly encouraged. No prior experience in astronomy is necessary.


Apply Here!


March 1, 2023

Admission and Matriculation

Initial admission decisions will be issued on April 1.  Matriculating students should plan to arrive at UVA in mid-July for orientation and summer workshops before the start of classes.


Applicants and faculty mentors who seek additional information about this program in Astronomy are encouraged to contact astronomy Professor Phil Arras. For more information on the overall bridge program, contact Jasmine Crenshaw, director of diversity programs in the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs; Keisha John, associate dean for diversity and inclusion; and Dinko Pocanic, associate dean for graduate programs.