UWAB students hike up the Muir Snowfields of Mt. Rainier

The UW Astrobiology Program offers a Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology, and has also partnered with eight UWAB-affiliated Schools and Departments to develop a curriculum that results in a Dual-Title PhD in Astrobiology. Both of these credentials are offered in addition to the degree earned in a student’s home department (e.g. Astronomy, Earth & Space Sciences, Oceanography, etc).

To apply to the UW Astrobiology Program, you must apply to both Astrobiology AND your home department’s graduate program by the respective deadlines. Admission to UWAB is contingent on acceptance into your home department’s graduate program.

Please contact your chosen home department to learn how to apply to your primary graduate program. Instructions on how to apply to the Astrobiology program can be found below.


The following astrobiology-affiliated faculty have said they’re looking for students applying for the 2019-2020 academic year:

The following faculty may consider accepting new students:


The application processes for both the Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology and the Dual-Title PhD program are the same.

After submitting a complete application to the graduate school and home department(s) of your choice, prospective students must submit a well-developed statement of your interest(s) in the field of astrobiology to the Astrobiology program, along with a copy of your home department application package. The astrobiology statement of interest should be no more than two pages (single spaced) and address the following questions:

  • Which topics in astrobiology are of particular interest to you? How do you intend to incorporate those interests into your graduate education at the University of Washington?
  • What previous experience and/or achievements do you have in astrobiology-related fields or disciplines?
  • What previous experience and/or achievements do you have with interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g., research, teaching, etc.)?
  • Which departments outside of your primary department are you most interested in collaborating with for research and/or coursework?
  • What would you bring to the UW Astrobiology community?

Be sure to include your name and home department(s) to which you have applied. You may submit your home department application package and astrobiology statement of interest in paper or electronic format to: Mail:   UW Astrobiology Admissions Box 351580 Seattle, WA  98195   Email:  astrobio@uw.edu


This recommended application timeline applies to both the Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology and the Dual-Title PhD programs.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to identify their interest in the Astrobiology Program as early as possible – i.e., during initial application to the University. To ensure consideration of your application for autumn quarter, you should plan to submit your application before the priority deadline. While we will still process applications submitted after this date, they will receive lower priority, and we cannot guarantee that you will be considered for admission.

Priority Deadline:   January 15th

**Please note that this date is for Astrobiology only! You should check with your prospective home department to ensure that you meet their deadline as well, which is likely to be earlier.

The UWAB Admissions Subcommittee will also consider currently enrolled students for admissions to the astrobiology program. It is important to note that applicants who have advanced significantly toward their graduate degree (e.g., students close to or beyond the General Exam) may be denied admission if the admissions committee determines it is too late for a student to undertake the additional coursework necessary to integrate astrobiology into their research and training.

Current graduate students who would like to apply to the Astrobiology Program should first contact the UWAB Program Administrator at astrobio@uw.edu.


Graduate Certificate In Astrobiology

To be eligible for the Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology, students must first be accepted into a graduate-level program (masters or doctoral) in an astrobiology-related discipline such as, but not limited to:

Aeronautics & Astronautics
Atmospheric Sciences
Earth & Space Sciences
Environmental & Forest Sciences
Genome Sciences

Dual-Title PhD In Astrobiology

Paradise, Mt. Rainier

Effective Summer 2012, the UWAB Program has partnered with eight schools and departments to develop a Dual-Title PhD curriculum that will allow students to pursue specialized concentrations that result in the degree “Doctor of Philosophy (<Home Department> and Astrobiology).”

To be eligible for this program, students must first be admitted to a doctoral program in one of the eight participating units:

Aeronautics & Astronautics
Atmospheric Sciences
Earth & Space Sciences
Environmental & Forest Sciences

Once admitted to both the home department and the Astrobiology Dual-Title PhD program, students will be enrolled in a specialized “track” (i.e., concentration) with in their home department.

This Dual-Title PhD track carries additional requirements for coursework, research, and oversight by the UWAB Program. However, Dual-Title PhD students remain fully enrolled within their home department and subject to all requirements developed by that department.

The home department (not the Astrobiology Program) will be the entity that awards a student her/his final degree. But the UWAB Program will be responsible for verifying that a graduate has, in fact, completed all requirements necessary for earning the dual-title (“… and Astrobiology”) distinction.


Once the UWAB program is notified that an applicant has been accepted into her/his home department, the UWAB admissions committee will consider her/him for admission to the Astrobiology Program. Most admissions decisions are completed by the end of March. Admissions decisions are typically delivered via email.


For answers to frequently asked questions about admissions and other topics, check out our FAQ. Or, contact the UWAB Program Administrator at astrobio@uw.edu.