Astronomy Graduate Program
Spring 2020 Grades and Graduate Admission: The COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting everyone’s life and studies in Spring 2020. Recognizing this, many Universities have moved to either complete or optional P/NP grading for undergraduate classes in Spring 2020. The Berkeley Astronomy department affirms that we will treat all applicants the same in our graduate admissions process regardless of whether they take classes P/NP in Spring 2020 or elect (if given the option) to take classes for a grade. In particular, the decision to take classes P/NP in Spring 2020 will not be held against applicants in the admissions process. This applies to all courses, including those that count for an Astronomy or Physics major.
The UC Berkeley Department of Astronomy has a long history of excellence in the field of Astronomy; with our award-winning, renown faculty and access to numerous state-of-the-art observing and research facilities, our department consistently produces graduates who are positioned to become leaders and pioneers in their chosen fields. As one of the most consistently top-ranked graduate and PhD programs in the nation, we seek to maintain our reputation and continue our tradition of providing high-quality education by investing in our students and providing numerous opportunities for success.
Program and Teaching
Our graduate program offers numerous specialized courses that examine topics that include interstellar matter, high-performance computing, Astrophysical fluid dynamics, and extragalactic cosmology and astronomy, in addition to access to numerous weekly lectures hosted by our in-house research units. Graduate students work alongside faculty and researchers oversee work across a wealth of Astronomy-related topics. In addition to extensive research experience, our students take on instructor positions to obtain valuable teaching experience by working with aspiring undergraduates.
Research and Facilities
Research is a large component of the program and our students find themselves at the forefront of ongoing projects by obtaining research positions and conducting work to explore topics that include star, planet, and galaxy formation, supernovas, protoplanetary disks, galaxy clusters, and reionization history of the universe as a whole. Students have made significant scientific contributions that have garnered world-wide attention, including discovering entire new solar-systems, locating the largest black holes to date, storms on other planets, and finding habitable planets.
Student Outreach and Collaborations
Outreach is a large part of student life; between science fairs, field trips, managing websites, summer courses, and other department-hosted events, students are able to share their love and knowledge of Astronomy with all generations of space enthusiasts. UC Berkeley also offers a number of student groups that allow for collaborations and networking opportunities.
Caleb Harada, Class of ’26
“I enjoy the flexibility of the astronomy graduate program because I’m able to choose a path that really suits my interests and goals. While taking courses, I’ve had opportunities to practice observing at Lick Observatory, refine my teaching style in the classroom, and contribute to improving our department by serving on the astronomy Climate Committee.”
“I love how dynamic and active the department is. There’s almost always something happening in Campbell (colloquium, short-talk, visitor), so it becomes easy to learn from and collaborate with one another!”