Why Berkeley Astronomy

Department Overview

Astronomy at Berkeley means many things: studying from and directly collaborating with the best scientists in their fields; collecting and analyzing ground-breaking data; designing and operating pathfinding instruments; and using everything from pencil and paper to massively parallel supercomputers to understand cosmic phenomena from physical first principles. Studying Astronomy at Berkeley means discovering the world beyond our own in an internationally-ranked institution.


The Department of Astronomy faculty are comprised of world-renowned researchers who have made significant contributions in their respective fields, including cosmology, high-energy astrophysics including supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, galaxy formation, extrasolar planets, theoretical astrophysics, black holes, and star formation (to name just a few). Our faculty lead numerous research groups of postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates working collaboratively. Astronomy faculty are dedicated to training the next generation of researchers and educators.

Resources and Research

The Department is housed in Campbell Hall, a new state-of-the-art facility located on the Hearst Mining Circle that contains instrumentation labsobservational facilities, and remote observing rooms for connections to the Keck and Lick observatories. Department-based projects covering a wide range of research topics are conducted in-house everyday. In addition to being funded by the research grants of individual Principal Investigators, students can apply to the Department for travel funding.

Undergraduate Program

The Berkeley Department of Astronomy Undergraduate Program offers students comprehensive, hands-on training in astrophysics. Between the in-depth labs and courses; opportunities to work on research projects alongside faculty and their group members; and access to numerous local and world-class facilities, our students complete the majors program with skills in physical reasoning and computation, ready for advanced work in research, education, or industry.

Graduate Program

The Berkeley Department of Astronomy Graduate Program has a superb record of training astrophysicists who are now members of the academy worldwide. The PhD program is consistently ranked first in the nation because we consistently prioritize graduate students first in our research and education missions. Our graduate students are the front line of research and the future of our field.