Graduate Program


UCSC is a world leader in astrophysics education, providing an intellectually rich, vibrant, and challenging graduate student program. The program emphasizes forefront astrophysics research as the main training tool to prepare and support its students for a range of career options. We currently enroll approximately 40 graduate students working towards the Ph.D. degree. Students benefit from the low student-faculty ratio, extensive research opportunities, and course offerings that cover both theoretical and observational aspects of astronomy.

The most telling metrics for our success are the quality of the graduate students we attract to campus and, more importantly, the professional success they go on to achieve upon leaving UCSC. Indeed, our alumni currently hold leading positions at universities and research centers throughout the world (see our Department Fact Sheet).

Research Resources for Graduate Students

Astronomy and Astrophysics graduate students have access to the world-class observational facilities operated by the University of California Observatories (UCO) and to state-of-the-art instrument development and data reduction technology at UCSC.

Graduate students may conduct supervised research with the Nickel 1m, Shane 3m, and APF 2.5m telescopes of the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, 55 miles from Santa Cruz. The 10-meter Keck Telescopes in Hawaii, the world's largest, are administered from the UCSC campus and is used for frontier research by UC astronomers.  Students also have access, through select faculty, to a wide range of current and future astronomical surveys including BOSS, DESI, WFIRST, TESS, and LSST.