Here is an excerpt from a letter I recently received.
I am writing to let you know that Northwestern is now offering a PhD program in Astronomy (in addition to our Physics PhD). Could you please help us pass the word to prospective graduate students? Here are some details about the new program.Our goal with the Astronomy PhD is to engage students in research as quickly as possible, while at the same time providing them with access to a comprehensive set of graduate courses in astronomy and physics. This new program is part of a major expansion of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Northwestern, which includes the hiring of several new faculty members. Our Astronomy PhD program is designed to give students flexibility in their curriculum, so that they can take full advantage of the interdisciplinary research activities pursued within our Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Northwestern now also has institutional access to observatories including Keck and the MMT, which observationally-oriented students will be able to use for their research.For more details, please see the introduction to our new program at http://www.physics.northwestern.edu/graduate/doctoral-program/astronomy-phd-degree-requirement.html or the CIERA web site (http://ciera.northwestern.edu).Note that the Physics GRE is optional for students applying to the Astronomy PhD.
Interested? I know several people there, and it’s a good group.