University of California Astronomy
INTELLECTUALLY RICH | VIBRANT | CHALLENGING
"Our graduate alumni carry the UCSC label around the globe throughout their entire careers, and serve as the best advertisement for how well we educate young scientists."
Sandra Faber, Former Department Chair
UCSC is a world leader in astrophysics education, providing an intellectually rich, vibrant, and challenging graduate student program. The program emphasizes forefront astrophysics research as the main training tool to prepare and support its students for a range of career options. We currently enroll approximately 40 graduate students working towards the Ph.D. degree. Students benefit from the low student-faculty ratio, extensive research opportunities, and course offerings that cover both theoretical and observational aspects of astronomy.
The most telling metrics for our success are the quality of the graduate students we attract to campus and, more importantly, the professional success they go on to achieve upon leaving UCSC. Indeed, our alumni currently hold leading positions at universities and research centers throughout the world (see our Department Fact Sheet).
Research Resources for Graduate Students: Astronomy and Astrophysics graduate students have access to state-of-the-art instrument development and data reduction technology, the UCO computer network, and an unusually extensive astronomical library at the Lick Observatory headquarters on campus. Graduate students may conduct supervised research with selected telescopic facilities of the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, 55 miles from Santa Cruz. The 10-meter Keck Telescope in Hawaii, the world's largest, is administered from the UCSC campus and is used for frontier research by UC astronomers. The Center for Adaptive Optics (CfAO) is also headquartered at UCSC. Education is central to the CfAOs mission, with a particular focus on graduate students. In addition to research facilities, the center provides access to an interdisciplinary nationwide network of scientists in astronomy and vision science.