Students receiving "P" or "F" on the oral exam have the option to take the written exam roughly one month later.
Before advancing to Ph D candidacy, a student must complete all coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0, complete all directed research projects to the satisfaction of the GROG, and pass the Qualifying Exam Assessment with a grade of "P*".
These students also have the option to be based at any of the Institute for Astronomy branches (Mānoa, Maui, or Hilo) immediately upon entering the program.
Placement at the If A-Maui or If A-Hilo facilities is contingent upon funding for an assistantship, and applicants are encouraged to contact potential research advisors during the admissions process.
Most courses are taught on a two-year cycle, but ASTR 633 and ASTR 635 are currently offered each Fall.
In addition, there are a number of "700-level" courses, most consisting of short, specialized seminars on topics closely related to ongoing research at the Institute. Most courses change from year to year and some are taught by visiting scientists; two 700-level seminars, ASTR 740 and ASTR 777, are presently offered on a regular basis.The format of the exam is determined by the committee chair, but in the past students have usually been invited to present their dissertation research proposal to the committee, and then address any comments or criticisms of it that the committee may have.According to university regulations, any member of the University's graduate faculty may attend the examination; all members of the major field of study are invited and all members of the doctoral committee must be present at the oral portion and must participate in judging the entire examination.The core of the graduate astronomy curriculum is a series of "600-level" three-credit courses that provide a broad base to which specialized knowledge can later be added.Ph D students entering with a Bachelor's degree typically take at least six of these courses, including ASTR 633 (Astrophysical Techniques).The Qualifying Exam is normally an oral exam, and a satisfactory ("P*") grade is required to pass the exam.A written exam is only given to students who have not received a "P*" on the oral exam.Students entering with master's degrees may take the exam at the end of their second semester.The exam has three possible outcomes: a student getting a "P*" grade qualifies for a MS degree is ready to continue toward the Ph D, a student getting a "P" grade qualifies for a MS degree, and a student getting a "F" grade fails the exam.The Qualifying Exam, which evaluates a student's overall knowledge of astronomy, is offered each June.Most students entering with bachelor's degrees take this exam at the end of their fourth semester, although anyone wishing to do so can undertake the exam early.