VII. New Student Onboarding

A. Getting Settled in Santa Cruz





Enrollment for healthcare needs to be carried out during the first 30 days of your hire in the university system.  You enroll in benefits and designate your beneficiaries using the web application At Your Service Online  Your first online access to the system can be carried out by clicking on the “New User and don’t have access to the system?” link and using your SSN for the username and your date of birth (mmddyyy) as the password).

1. UC SHIP Health Insurance

Because all graduate students are required to have health insurance, all full-time graduate students are automatically enrolled in and charged for UC SHIP health insurance. For more information about the UC SHIP health insurance program, follow these links:

For more information on accepting or waiving UC SHIP health insurance, follow this link:


2. Physical and Mental Healthcare Services


B. Getting Settled in the Department


New students are required to attend a mandatory department orientation. The date for orientation next year is to be determined. UAW Union/TA and Title IX trainings will be included in the orientation.

CruzID Account
  1. Applicants use CruzID Manager to claim their UCSC campus CruzID account and set their CruzID Gold Password. CruzID Manager is an application that provides authentication and password services for many campus systems, including MyUCSC, Canvas, Slug Success, Campus Housing, University Dining and UCSC email. Once the CruzID account has been claimed, the user may log in to MyUCSC using their CruzID.
    New applicants to UCSC are sent a welcome letter that includes instructions on how to claim their CruzID and log in to MyUCSC. 

UCSC Email and ID Card
  1. Email
    1. Students log in to CruzID Manager to set their CruzID Blue password, which activates their email account. Official email correspondence from instructors and the campus are sent to the student's UCSC Email account.
    2. You must check your UCSC email address on a regular basis as this is where all official university communications will be sent. 
  2. Student ID Cards for Metro Bus Use
    1. Showing a valid UCSC Student ID card provides students unlimited rides on Santa Cruz Metro buses. Metro service for students is funded through the Student Transit Fee. 
    2. Student ID cards are issued through the ID Card Services office located on the first floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore building near the Express Store. Contact ID Card Services by calling (831) 459-2990 or email


Office Space

Astronomy & Astrophysics grads have office assignments that last an entire academic year (fall through summer quarter). Offices are equipped with desks, filing cabinets, bookcases, and other general office supplies.

Astronomy & Astrophysics grad student offices are in the Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, the Center for Adaptive Optics, and the Natural Sciences II Building and Annex.

Grads typically share offices with other graduate students. Requests for office assignments are collected during the summer quarter and decisions are finalized before the start of the fall quarter. Various accommodations are taken into consideration when assigning offices. If an office assignment presents an issue, please contact the graduate adviser at



Office and building keys must be requested here:

After a request has been submitted the graduate adviser must approve the request. Once the request has been approved, you will receive an email with instructions on picking up your key.

The PBSci Keys Office is located in Physical Sciences Building 216.

If you have any questions about obtaining keys, please contact the graduate adviser at or department manager at



The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics will provide a mailbox for each student in ISB 260.

Office Supplies and Photocopying

Office supplies are available in the mailroom. If you have specific supply requests or need access to supplies in the supplies cabinet or Department storage closet, please contact the department assistant at or graduate adviser at

For those TA-ing this year, instructional materials can be printed from our copier. We try to keep copier costs low so please keep in mind the following things:

  1. Use copier for instructional purposes only
  2. Please print double sided if possible to save paper
  3. If you need more than 100 copies please use the Copier Center instead (see directions below).


Using the Astronomy & Astrophysics Copies

If you want to be directly added to the Astro copier, (you can use the scan function this way) follow these directions. To be added to the astronomy copier, simply send an email to the copier program ( and include the following details:

  1. Your name 
  2. The copier you would like to be added to
  3. The FOAPAL to charge for your copies is 05397-403110 ATGRCY.
  4. Your email address, if you would like a keyboard shortcut created for your email address -- for scanning purposes only. 
  5. Employee ID 

Using the UCSC Copy Center
  • If you need to print more than 100 copies: The UCSC Copy Center is your resource for copying exams, syllabi, course handouts, etc.
  • Simply send an email to with the file to be printed. 
  • Please also include the details of the job by using the editable .pdf below. Be sure to attach this to your order email. 
  • The FOAPAL to charge for your copies is 05397-403110 ATGRCY.
  • Please make sure that you keep your individual copying account and the "Astro instructional account" separate.
  • You will be billed at the end of the quarter for your individual account (non-Astro related) from the copying center and they charge interest if these charges are not paid at the end of the quarter. 

Registration and Enrollment - Fall 2019

All students will login to their MyUCSC accounts to enroll in courses.

Enrollment windows are published here: 

You can find our graduate courses by looking them up here:

In your first year you are required to register for:


  • ASTR 204 - Astrophysics II 
  • ASTR 205 - Intro to Astro Research
  • ASTR 257 - Observational Astronomy
  • ASTR 292 - Seminar (Colloquium)

  • ASTR 202 - Astrophysics I (Radiative Processes)
  • ASTR 233 - Galaxies and Cosmology I
  • ASTR 292 - Seminar (Colloquium)


There are no core courses offered in Spring 2020 for first year students. The following electives are offered and optional:

  • ASTR 260 - Instrumentation for Astronomy
  • ASTR 230 - Diffuse Matter in Space
  • ASTR 292 - Seminar (Colloquium)

All of our graduate core courses are taken with “ABC” grading except 205 (graded “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory”). Students must elect to enroll in ABC grading. All other courses, such as Independent Study and Seminar courses can be taken with the default grading of “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory”. Students can request a letter-grade in such courses, but that is not required in order to meet requirements.  

In addition to these required courses you must complete two additional 5-unit electives. Students should consult their faculty advisor about which two electives to take, as they should aid in your preparation to conduct research. Refer to the Elective Classes list in the Ph.D. Degree Requirements section. 

While it is possible to take these two elective courses in your first year, it is not required.  Most of our students complete these two electives at the beginning of their second year. 


Understanding Your Funding Package

As long as you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress you will receive financial support from the Department during the regular academic year (summer quarter funding is not guaranteed).  We will cover the cost of your tuition (in-state and out-of-state until you are eligible to become in-state), healthcare, and will provide a stipend. 

Most incoming students have some combination of Regents Fellowships, internal or external fellowships, TAships, and/or GSRships.

Every student’s funding package will be unique due to different funding sources available to different students and/or external fellowship awards.  Please contact the graduate adviser at to discuss your funding.


Establishing Residency

If you are already considered in-state for tuition purposes, or if you are an international student, then you can disregard this section.

  1. Out-of-state students must obtain California residency by the start of their second year.  This requires students to take action early in their first year. 
  2. As soon as possible, students should:
    1. Obtain a California driver’s license or state ID card;
    2. Register any vehicles in California;
    3. Register to vote in California (if a U.S. citizen);
    4. Take necessary steps to relinquish other ties that they may have to their former state.
  3. Information on requirements and procedures for establishing legal residency can be found below:
    1. UCSC Registrar Residency for Tuition Purposes: 
    2. UCOP How to Establish Residency:
  4. The form for establishing residency can be found in the Forms section of the Astro Graduate Handbook and here:
  5. Please contact the graduate adviser at to discuss the timeline and process for establishing residency.


International Students

  1. Newly Admitted Students
    1. The ISSS provides important information for incoming F-1 and J-1 international students, helping to create a smooth transition to life in Santa Cruz, and assists students with maintaining their visa status.
  2. Graduate Prep Program (GPP)
    1. The Graduate Preparation Program is a four-week intensive non-credit course offered prior to the Fall quarter which is open to all current and newly admitted international graduate students. The GPP focuses on English for Academic Purposes (EAP), academic skills, and cultural orientation. The program is offered in collaboration with Graduate Division and Global Engagement.

  3. Language Requirements
    1. International students’ TOEFL speaking scores must be above a 26 to be eligible for TAships.