Why Berkeley Astronomy

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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.

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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.

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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.

Why I Love Berkeley Astronomy

Imad Pasha, Class of ’18 

“Being in the astrophysics major here at Berkeley has been an awesome experience, and I appreciate the tight-knit community and friendships I’ve made with almost everyone in the major, which often extend beyond academics. ”

Cee Gould, Class of ’16.

“As a Chiricahua native and first generation college student, Cal has provided me unparalleled opportunities to discover what I am excited most about in the universe. I am currently working on a project in analyzing and modeling protoplanetary disks using images from the Hubble Space Telescope, I’ve recently joined a supernova observing team that uses telescopes at Lick Observatory, and this summer I will be completing a cosmology internship at NASA Goddard!”

Ramsey Karim, Class of ’17

“I chose Astrophysics because, while I love physics, it’s sometimes hard to connect it to the real world. Astrophysics bridges that gap and gives me the opportunity to learn about my cosmological roots.”

Andrew Bigley, Class of ’16

“From a young age I was fascinated with all of the space documentaries on Discovery and the Science Channel so I decided I’d take a few Astro classes while at Berkeley. But after just the first few meetings in Astro 7A I realized I wanted to learn so much more about Astronomy than a few intro classes or even, as I’ve learned more recently, a whole undergraduate career could teach me.”