The goal of the UW-Madison Astronomy Graduate Program is to prepare capable and creative astronomers for careers in research and education. The granting of a Ph.D. degree indicates that the recipient has a mastery of the knowledge and techniques of modern astrophysics. In addition, the recipient is expected to be familiar with problems that are at the frontiers of astrophysical research.
More generally, and most importantly, a successful Ph.D. is proof that a person can identify an interesting problem, set about solving it, in the process acquiring the necessary skills and tools, and to make a significant contribution to a field in a largely self-directed and self-motivated way, under the general guidance of a Ph.D. advisor. This is the skill that sets Ph.D. students apart.
If you accept the challenges of a Ph.D., you will find a welcoming and inspiring work environment at the UW-Madison Astronomy Department that will allow you to achieve these goals.