Instruction in astronomy for undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz is designed to meet the needs of several groups of students.

Astronomy & Astrophysics courses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 80A, 80B, and 80D provide a general survey of the universe as now understood from historical and modern observations and are intended for those not specializing in a scientific discipline.

Astronomy & Astrophysics courses 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18 emphasize basic physical laws and theories as applied to astronomy and provide a survey of modern astronomy for students with some facility in mathematics. Taken separately, they provide an in-depth introduction to gravitational interaction, stellar evolution, and extragalactic astrophysics. These courses are designed for students intending to major in a scientific subject, although qualified non-science majors may attend. A good high school background in mathematics and physics is assumed. Prior or concurrent enrollment in a basic calculus course (Mathematics 11A or 19A) and a basic physics course (Physics 5A/L or 6A/L) is helpful but not required.

Finally, a more thorough quantitative treatment of selected topics in astronomy and astrophysics at the upper-division level is provided by Astronomy & Astrophysics courses 112, 113, 117, and 118. Completion of course work in calculus of several variables (Mathematics 22 or 23A-B) and Physics 5B/M or 6B/M and 101A is required for these advanced courses.


Graduate instruction is built upon a two-year cycle of 11 one-quarter courses in astronomy and physics that are required of all students. For more information, click here.