Undergraduate Program

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Undergraduate Overview

The UC Berkeley Astronomy Undergraduate program is comprised of individuals who embody the need to better understand the world beyond our own! The Department of Astronomy endeavors to meet that need by providing students access to a broad spectrum of courses taught by prize-winning faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, active scientists and researchers, and opportunities to conduct research projects as a means of contributing to the subjects they are studying. Our students graduate with research and lab experience, computational and analytic skills, and an education that will equip them to continue on as leaders in their chosen fields and professional endeavours.

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Courses

Astronomy courses offer an array of topics ranging from general, comprehensive overviews (including introductions to Modern Cosmology, Astronomy, and Astrophysics) to a variety of special-topics courses and labs (Infrared, Optical, and Radio Astronomy, Theoretical Astrophysics, and Spectroscopy, to name a few). Our program also offers Python coding and other data-oriented bootcamps and private lectures for our students; all courses are taught by faculty specializing and conducting on-going research in the subjects they teach, ensuring a more enlightened and thorough educational experience.

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Research and Resources

There are myriad opportunities to conduct research with our department members; students assist with observing, data-analysis, and additional research-related responsibilities for a wide variety of projects. Students can also utilize our extensive list of department facilities, libraries, telescopes, and labs, both on campus and around the country (the department offers funding for research and educational endeavours). Due to these accessible research opportunities and resources, many of our Astrophysics majors have their work published in scientific journals before graduating the program.

Astronomy majors receive access to the David D Cudaback Undergraduate Lab, a 1600 square foot facility equipped with various resources to aid research and coursework. Majors are also equipped with research software and department accounts, access to the Astronomy networks, and a department-hosted website.

Students participate in a number of groups, including the Space Exploration Society at Berkeley (UC Berkeley’s premiere space-interest club, which works in tandem with the Planetary Society and SETI), Society of Women in the Physical Sciences, and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

The Department of Astronomy is fueled by a passion for knowledge we look to share with both current and future generations of Astronomers; We invite you to learn more about the Astrophysics major and the many opportunities made available to our students!

Undergraduate Perspectives


Kevin Hayakawa, Class of ’16

“My favorite aspect of the Astronomy Department is how small and interconnected it is. The size of the department allows undergraduates to feel like an integral part of the community as well as get to know the staff, faculty, and graduate students better.”



Mackenzie Moody, Class of ’16

“The best thing about the Astrophysics department is the people. All of the staff and faculty are not only extremely intelligent, but are funny, caring and willing to teach all students.”



Joseph Zalesky, Class of ’16

“I really enjoy being apart of the astronomy department here at UC Berkeley because of the sense of community the department offers. Most professors and staff are friendly and willing to take time to discuss various topics and ideas with undergrads.”



Austin McDowell, Class of ’16

“I like the Astronomy department because it takes the needs of its students seriously and has the best professors on campus.”