Department of Astronomy
Helping Us Recruit the Best of the Best Graduate
Daniel Jaffe, Chair, Department of Astronomy
I want to let the Board of Visitors know about an initiative with a
high potential for impact on The University of Texas at Austin
Department of Astronomy. Our goal is to make the UT Astronomy Department
the top program at a U.S. public university and to play a leading role
on the national and international stage.
Meeting this goal requires us to have a well-supported, first-rate
faculty, and to have cutting-edge experimental facilities such as
HETDEX, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, the Giant Magellan
Telescope, and the CCAT Submillimeter telescope. Another aspect to
reaching the highest levels in the field is to recruit superb graduate
First-Year Fellowships: Recruiting to Make UT Austin the Nation’s
Best Our astronomy graduate program is highly selective. This year, we
offered admission to only one in ten of our applicants. We are now
competing with Princeton, Caltech, Berkeley, and Harvard for the few
most qualified potential students.
With that kind of competition, the key step is getting the best
students to choose our program. To compete, we must promise entering
students full tuition and living support, which we can do through a
combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, (both
of which require 20 hours of work per week) and fellowships.
Fellowships—support without any fixed duties—are the most desirable
awards. Only with such fellowships can we attract the very best
students. With the freedom these fellowships offer, these select top
students help the program by doing their very best and by contributing
right away to fundamental research on planetary systems, cosmology, and
other high-priority research topics.
Support from the BoV can enable us to offer fellowships to the most
promising students. With the leverage provided by matching funds from
the College and Department, gifts for this purpose can have a
significant impact on the quality of our incoming graduate class.
At current rates, just under $40,000 will cover the tuition,
insurance, and stipend of a first-year graduate student for one year.
The Astronomy Department will match contributions to this effort,
leveraging every dollar you give one-to-one. Here’s the impact you can
$20,000 will support a
student for a full year (two semesters and a summer session)
$7,500 will support a
student for a semester
$5,000 will support a
student for a summer session
Thanks to the BoV Members helping already: Thanks to BoV members
Clint Davis, Stephen Blount, Sam and Sara Cooper, and Gery and Susan
Muncey, we have been able been able to make an excellent start on this
For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Joel Barna at email@example.com.
A pledge form for this effort can also be found at:
Graduate Student First Year Fund pledge form
Please join us in this exciting and rewarding way to promote
excellence in the UT Austin Astronomy program.