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Graduate Study in Astrophysics


We at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) at UC San Diego are seeking high-caliber students interested in pursuing graduate research in astrophysics. CASS has been a leading research institute since its founding in 1977 and remains at the forefront of astronomy and astrophysics. The addition of Adam Burgasser, Alison Coil, Dusan Keres, Quinn Konopacky, Karin Sandstrom, and Shelley Wright to the faculty—pursuing cutting-edge research on topics such as the coldest stars and large-scale structure—adds to an outstanding department strong in observ- ational, theoretical, experimental, and computational astrophysics.

Program Objectives

UCSD offers a variety of graduate and research opportunities in astro- physics and space sciences, and CASS has a number of graduate students working with faculty and research staff as thesis students. Prospective graduate students apply through the departments of Physics, Chemistry, or Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and follow the individual departmental curricula. Graduate students concentrate on core courses during the first academic year, usually with financial support through research fellowships and/or teaching assistantships.

Currently there are approximately twenty graduate students at CASS, with roughly half in theory and half in observation or instrument development. CASS graduate students acquire a strong physics foundation in a program ranked 16th in the country by the 2010 US News and World Report College Rankings Poll. As a university, UCSD was #2 in the 2009 Washington Monthly College Rankings Poll based on quality of research, service and social mobility.

Program Opportunities

Graduate students working with CASS faculty or research staff have the opportunity to work on a wide range of scientific problems in experimental, observational or theoretical astrophysics and space sciences. These include theoretical studies of nucleosynthetic processes in the early universe, numerical simulations of non-linear plasma processes, analysis and interpretation of data obtained from ground and space based instruments, observing at optical, infrared, X-ray or radio wavelengths, and participating in the development and construction of forefront astronomical instrumentation. Students in CASS have access to UC's ground-based optical/IR facilities at the 10m Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii and Lick Observatory near San Jose, CA. Research areas are listed under the CASS Research Activities page.

For further information please see the list of ongoing research at CASS.