How to Apply
We encourage all who are seriously contemplating coming to BYU for graduate work to download and read the Guide for Applying to Graduate Study. This booklet is published by BYU Graduate Studies and contains the latest information. An application checklist is available here and also at the end of the Guide for Applying to Graduate Study. The information below summarizes many important points of those references, but is not complete.
Prospective students apply online as either U.S. citizens or international applicants. The application deadline is January 15 of each year. New students are normally accepted in March and begin their studies in the Fall Semester.
Requirements for admission are set by the university and by the Physics and Astronomy Department. These requirements are:
- A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
- Receive at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the cumulative undergraduate GPA from a regionally accredited university in the United States, or a comprehensive grade-point average of 3.0 from an equivalent university outside the United States. GPAs from international institutions will be calculated by a credential-evaluation service.
- A GRE physics subject test score; no minimum score has been set for acceptance into our graduate program. The GRE physics subject test score can be waived for applicants who commit to do their thesis or dissertation research in astronomy. Astronomy applicants with questions about waiving the GRE physics subject test should contact the department directly.
- A GRE general test score; no minimum score has been set for acceptance into our graduate program
- At least three letters of recommendation, to be submitted online.
- All applicants should start the process early to obtain an endorsement. The endorsement must not be submitted by the stake president/chaplain before September 5th for fall semester (or under one year from the date of the start of your intended semester). All applicants need an endorsement interview with a bishop and a stake president (or local religious leader and BYU Chaplain) before your application can be fully considered. Current or continuing BYU students applying for graduate school must also obtain a new endorsement. Start this process at endorse.byu.edu.
English Speaking Requirement
Teaching assistantships usually include assignments to tutor or mentor undergraduate students, thus the Department requires that students have good English verbal skills. To assess this a telephone conversation may be required before any final admission decision is made on students whose native language is not English. The department will initiate these telephone calls (and therefore pay for them). In order to be able to arrange these telephone calls, applicants in foreign countries are required to provide an e-mail address where they can be contacted.
International students must meet additional requirements specified by the US government and by BYU. Specifically they must:
- Exceed the minimum score in either the TOEFL or IELTS exams
- Send all transcripts, diplomas, and other relevant information for a credential evaluation to IERF
- Provide proof of financial support
- Satisfy all other requirements for an extended stay as a student in the United States
A checklist for international applicants is available as a guide. See International Services for more information. Please note that all International students must check in at the international services office at 1351 WSC immediately after arriving on campus.
Any applicant having a difficult time obtaining an ecclesiastical endorsement in their home country should email the graduate program international staff at INTL@byu.edu to arrange a personal or telephone interview with the university chaplain.
Upon admission, a faculty member is assigned to each student as their academic sponsor. This sponsor often does not continue as their Advisory Committee Chair, but rather is appointed to be a useful resource in the first weeks of a student's graduate life. This sponsor will orient the student to the Department, advise regarding registration details, introduce them to faculty members, and help in identifying possible faculty advisors in their area of interest.
All applicants, regardless of religion, must agree to abide by the
universitiy code of conduct through the honor code commitment.
Brigham Young University exists to provide an education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That atmosphere is created and preserved through commitment to conduct that reflects those ideals and principles. Members of the faculty, administration, staff, and student body at BYU are selected and retained from among individuals who voluntarily live the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Observance of such is a specific condition of employment and admission. Those individuals who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also expected to maintain the same standards of conduct. All those who represent BYU are to maintain the highest standards of honor, integrity, morality, and consideration of others in personal behavior. By accepting appointment to the faculty, continuing in employment, or continuing class enrollment, individuals evidence their commitment to observe the Honor Code standards approved by the Board of Trustees "at all times…and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9).
"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men….If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things." (Thirteenth Article of Faith)
As a matter of personal commitment, faculty, staff, and students of BYU seek to demonstrate in daily living on and off campus those moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will:
- Be honest.
- Live a chaste and virtuous life.
- Obey the law and all campus policies.
- Use clean language.
- Respect others.
- Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse.
- Participate regularly in church services.
- Observe dress and grooming standards.
- Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code.
We welcome students of all faiths. Many non-LDS students credit the honor code for creating an environment that was more conducive to intellectual and spiritual growth than would have been possible otherwise.
Dress and Grooming Standards
The dress and grooming of both men and women should always be modest, neat, and clean, consistent with the dignity adherent to representing The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and any of its institutions of higher education.
Modesty and cleanliness are important values which reflect personal dignity and integrity, through which students, staff, and faculty represent the principles and standards of the Church. Members of BYU commit themselves to observe these standards, which reflect the direction given by the Board of Trustees and the Church publication For the Strength of Youth.
Men: A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors and trimmed above the collar leaving the ear uncovered. Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, mustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards are not acceptable. Earrings and other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.
Women: A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses and skirts must be knee length or longer. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles and colors. Excessive ear piercing (more than one per ear) and all other body piercing are not acceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas.
All applicants are required to read and commit to abide by the Honor Code.