The Department of Astronomy offers graduate study leading to the Master’s of Science degree in astronomy. The degree is designed to prepare students either for further graduate work leading to the doctorate, or for a professional career in teaching or in industry. In brief, all students will complete coursework in astronomy and closely related fields, and then complete either a written thesis (“Plan A”) or pass a comprehensive examination (“Plan B”).
Thesis projects are conducted in collaboration with department faculty, whose research ranges from the structure and evolution of stars, to the physics of the brightest explosions in the universe, to the formation and growth of galaxies. Graduate students have access to MLO observing facilities, as well as to extensive campus computing facilities and to the San Diego Supercomputer Center. Students interested in broader community outreach may make use of numerous on-campus observing facilities for this purpose, including a Clark 12-inch refractor, two permanently fixed 12-inch reflecting telescopes, ten portable 8-inch Meade LX200 reflectors, and 20 smaller assorted portable reflecting telescopes. Students may also design their own planetarium shows using our classic Spitz AP3 planetarium.