Undergraduate Program

Introduction to the Major

The UC Berkeley Astrophysics Undergraduate program prepares students to understand the world beyond our own! The Department of Astronomy endeavors to meet that need by providing students access to a broad spectrum of courses taught by prize-winning faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, first-class scientists and researchers, and opportunities to conduct research projects. The Astrophysics major provides students with physical reasoning, computational and analytical skills and prepares them for a career in academia, data science, tech and space industry, and many other fields.

The Astrophysics Curriculum 

Berkeley Astronomy courses cover an array of topics. The lower division ASTRO 7A & 7B courses give a comprehensive overview of our Universe, from exoplanets to cosmology. The upper division courses offer an in-depth view on planetary astrophysics (162), stellar physics (160), and relativistic astrophysics and cosmology (161). Our program stands out by its unique and rigorous lab courses, including the optical-IR (120), the radio astronomy (121), and the data science (128) labs. Courses are taught by expert faculty, ensuring a more enlightened and thorough educational experience.

Amplify Your Major

  • Join the Undergraduate Astronomical Society.

  • Learn how to program in Python early by taking our DeCal course, PHYSICS 77/88, or CS 61A.

  • Conduct a research project with one of our world-renowned scientists in the Astronomy Department, SSL or LBL.

  • Apply to a summer REU program.

  • Apply to an undergraduate student instructor (UGSI) or grader position.

  • Join CalTeach to prepare for a career in education. Talk to CalTeach faculty director Eugene Chiang.

I like the closeness of the Astronomy department, how there are frequent chances to interact with other undergraduates, graduates, postdocs, and faculty alike.
Nicholas Rui, Class of 2020

Four-Year Student Timeline

First Year

Explore Your Major

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

  • Apply for the Physics & Astronomy Scholars Program or Berkeley SEED Scholars Program.

  • Attend the Undergraduate Research and Scholarships Fair in Fall.

  • Get involved in campus research with ULAB

  • Enroll in Howard Isaacson’s “Introduction to Research” course in the summer after your first year.

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Second Year

Explore Your Major

  • Complete MATH 53, PHYSICS 89/MATH 54, PHYSICS 5B/7B + 5C/7C and ASTRO 7A + 7B. 

  • Take Astro Python coding DeCal course, PHYSICS 77/88, or CS 61A.

  • Meet with the major advisor to declare the major

  • Get access to Campbell Hall for use of lab space, KAIT room, and study lounge.

Connect and Build Community

  • Participate in stargazing and science talks at Astro Night and Science@Cal

  • Get to know your Astronomy professors and graduate student instructors by attending office hours. 

  • Explore other student groups like Society of Women in the Physical Sciences, Out in STEM, or AstroQ

Discover Your Passions

  • Find a research project by attending the Astronomy Undergraduate Research Symposia or through URAP

  • Attend our “Success after Berkeley” seminar series on academic resources, graduate school, career development, research and more.

  • Enjoy teaching? Explore a career in education while gaining teaching skills with CalTeach

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Third Year

Explore Your Major

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Fourth Year

Explore Your Major

  • Do a degree check to ensure you are on track to graduate.

  • Complete any “bucket list” courses and remaining major, college, and campus requirements

  • Register for the department and campus-wide commencement ceremonies.

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

  • Consider writing a senior thesis.

  • Teach your own DeCal course

  • Present your research at a scientific meeting.

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

What Can I Do With My Major?

The undergraduate program prepares students for astrophysics graduate work or other advanced degrees in related science and engineering fields. It also prepares students for careers in teaching or for working in data science and other technical fields. Our students graduate with research and lab experience, computational and analytical skills, and an education that will equip them as leaders in their chosen fields and professional endeavors.

Jobs and Employers

  • Chemist, Argonne National Lab 
  • Data Scientist, Lockheed Martin
  • Mission Integration Engineer, SpaceX
  • Process Engineer, DiCon Fiberoptics
  • Quantitative Analyst, BofA
  • Research Asst., Cambridge University
  • Research Intern, NASA-Ames Ctr.
  • Scientist, Stanford University
  • Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope
  • Software Engineer, Amazon
  • Software Engineer, Samsung
  • Tutor, C2 Education

Graduate Programs

  • Applied Mathematics, PhD
  • Astronomy, PhD 
  • Astrophysics, PhD
  • Chemical Engineering, PhD
  • Computer Science, PhD
  • Data Science, PhD
  • Earth and Planetary Science, PhD
  • Geophysics and Seismology, PhD
  • Neuroscience, PhD
  • Physics, PhD

Examples gathered from the First Destination Survey and Astro Exit Survey of recent Berkeley graduates.

Learn More

Connect With Us


Attend department events with students, staff, and faculty. Join our Advising Discord, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and visit our Astro events and news

Climate Advisors and Undergraduate Student Representative

Do you have any feedback or concerns on climate, curriculum, etc.? Check in with the Undergraduate Climate Advisors or the Undergraduate Student Representative, and join our bi-annual Town Hall meeting with the Chair and Faculty Advisor.


Brianna Franklin is the Academic Advisor. Contact her for information on major and minor requirements, policies, procedures, department resources, events and activities. Advising appointments can be made using Calcentral. For general information, please contact

Join our Advising Discord and view our Astro wiki page for information about courses, resources and more.

Eugene Chiang is the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor. Email him for office hours and assistance with content of courses, research, graduate school and career development.

How to Use this Map

Use this map to help plan and guide your experience at UC Berkeley, including academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities. Everyone’s Berkeley experience is different and activities in this map are suggestions. Always consult with your advisors whenever possible for new opportunities and updates.