Mentoring is foundational to developing the next generation of scientists and we strive to provide a supportive, intellectually stimulating and inclusive environment for our team. Check out philosophy page for a description of how we think at the Cool Worlds Lab before considering an application.
Generally, we enthusiastically support strong applicants to conduct PhD research at the Cool Worlds Lab. However, we do not and cannot accept applications to work as a PhD student with the Cool Worlds Lab or Prof David Kipping directly. Prospective students should apply to Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
Details on the Department of Astronomy's graduate program are described here, but we briefly point out some relevant details in what follows. Enrolled graduate students complete two one-year research projects plus classes in their first two years, which is nominally followed by three years of thesis research. The first two one-year projects are with different faculty advisors and we recommend students pick two distinct research fields to provide broad exposure.
Typically, it would be during one of these two years that students interested in working on exoplanets would join the Cool Worlds Lab. Suitability for continuation to thesis work is usually decided by students, advisor and faculty.
If you are undergraduate interested in conducting either semester or summer research at the Cool Worlds Lab, then read on! Undergraduate research is usually organized is far less formalized process than graduate school applications, often just by conversations between the advisor and the potential faculty member. Due to the large number of students writing to Prof Kipping for such opportunities, we are implementing a more structured process, described here.
All undergraduate researchers should identify a Cool Worlds Lab postdoc or senior graduate student to serve as their primary science advisor. Prof Kipping will serve as the secondary advisor. You can see who is willing to serve in such a role by going to our people page and looking at those individuals with "keywords: …" written in their section. These individuals are willing to mentor you in projects related to the subjects areas listed under keywords. You should contact your prospective primary science advisor with Prof Kipping in CC with the following information:
- What kind of research you are interested in doing? You don't have to have a project idea already (although we certainly don't discourage that!) but should have a sense as to what subject(s) you are interested in and the skill set you would like to use (e.g. pen-and-paper theorist, data science, machine learning, etc)
- List any relevant astronomy/physics/mathematics classes taken and your grades
- Your coding knowledge and experience
- Are you interested in mid-semester research (starting when?) or paid summer research?
Note that we do not accept applications for remote undergraduate mentoring, students must be physically on-campus during the research project.