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Space Sciences, Ph.D.

Space Sciences, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Space Sciences

Space Sciences PhD

Choose Florida Tech for a space sciences PhD—one of the most well-respected programs in the country. The undergraduate program in astronomy and astrophysics was the first ever in the world, setting the stage for prestigious space sciences graduate programs that prepare students for careers in scientific, technical, research, and space environments. 

Florida Tech is a leader in space sciences, providing a wealth of research opportunities, resources, and specialized experiences. One such example is being the lead agency for the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), which operates automated one-meter-class telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, and at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile.

Located Amid 5,000 High-Tech and Scientific Companies

Florida Tech is strategically situated at the center of Florida’s high-tech corridor, home to thousands of aerospace, scientific, and high-tech companies. With its close proximity to NASA, there is no better place to study for a space sciences PhD than in one of the most diverse science and technology-oriented areas in the country.

Intimate Campus—World Class Education

At Florida Tech, students in the space sciences PhD program collaborate with internationally recognized faculty members who have experience in various fields, including extra-solar planets, stellar astrophysics, and active galactic nuclei. Small class sizes with a low student-to-faculty ratio provide an atmosphere of mentorship that students might not find at larger universities. The faculty focuses on three key space science research areas: geospace physics, astronomy/astrophysics, and planetary science.

Real-World Research Opportunities

The learning environment at Florida Tech includes robust research opportunities. Students in the space sciences PhD program can align research projects with their career goals and study advanced topics that can include solar energetic particles, cosmology, and high-energy astrophysics, thunderstorm and lightning physics, and black holes. Research experiences provide students with access to a variety of laboratories, thousands of high-tech and space-related companies, and unique experiments such as the Thunderstorm Energetic Radiation Array (TERA). Designed to measure energetic radiation (X-rays and gamma rays) from thunderclouds and lightning, TERA is also part of an experiment called the MSE (Multiple Station Experiment), which is used to study the electric and magnetic fields from rocket-triggered lightning and nearby natural lightning.

High-Tech Laboratory Facilities

Facilities and resources are an important part of any doctoral program and Florida Tech boasts some of the best. Not only do students in the space science master’s program have access the Olin Physical Sciences Center featuring the Olin Observatory, which houses the Ortega 0.8-meter telescope (the largest research-grade telescope in the state of Florida), but they also have access to the Geospace Physics Laboratory, the Astronomy/Astrophysics Laboratory, and the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing.


A space sciences PhD program gives graduates the expertise needed to choose academic research, or enter research laboratories, as well as begin a career in a space agency or high-tech firm. Graduates have a well-rounded knowledge that can be applied to many areas in space science including astrophysics, astronomy, meteorology, and physics.