Program Details

Columbia University (Astronomy and Astrophysics)

Updated: September 16, 2018

Total number of tenure-track or tenured faculty


Number of women in tenure-track or tenured faculty positions


[Calculated] Percentage of women in tenure-track or tenured faculty positions


Total number of graduate students


Number of women graduate students


[Calculated] Percentage of women graduate students


Total number of post doctoral associates


Number of women post doctoral associates


[Calculated] Percentage of women post doctoral associates


Is there a family leave policy for graduate students? If so, describe.

The University's policy is to provide a twelve-week suspension of all academic responsibilities for new parents. The three students (all women) who have had children in the past ten years have had paid leaves arranged by the Department.

Is there family health insurance for graduate students? If so, is it included in the stipend?

The student's health insurance is covered by the Fellowship each student receives; family health coverage is available for an additional sum.

Do you have a Woman in Physics Group? If yes, please include link to their website if they have one.

Yes (centered in Physics; Astronomy is a separate department but our members participate):

Do you have a Physics Graduate Student Association? If yes, please include link to their website if they have one.

No, but there is Graduate School committee with one student representative from each department.

What other relevant student groups are there in your institution?

Information Unavailable

Has your institution ever hosted a Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics? If yes, which year?

Yes, in 2018 (this past January).

Has your institution ever hosted an APS Climate Site Visit for Women and Minorities in Physics?


Please describe why someone applying to graduate school who is interested in a female-friendly department should choose your department.

The relatively large number of female faculty and students in the astronomy and astrophysics program at Columbia results from a conscious effort to create a research and teaching environment welcoming to all. The most important consideration, however, is the outcomes our program achieves. In the five years 2014-2018 (inclusive), 14 of the 24 PhDs awarded by our Department of Astronomy were earned by women of whom two are working in the private sector and 12 hold research or faculty positions at Harvard, Princeton, IAS, Hopkins/STScI, NRAO, Arizona, Michigan, Caltech/JPL, Berkeley, the Flatiron Center for Computational Astronomy, and Rutgers and include Miller, Hubble, Einstein, Simons, and NSF Fellows. Our program, which emphasizes closely mentored research from the first semester and requires a variety of research projects over the first two years allows all students to find the mentor and style of research best suited to their needs and interests. See for program details.

Please include the name of faculty or staff member and an email they can be reached at for further questions.

David J. Helfand

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