Research Opportunities with UT Faculty and Staff

The following faculty and staff members in the UT Astronomy Department have openings for undergraduates to work with them on research. Contact them individually to find out more about a specific research project and ask about working with them. For an overview of research going on in the department, check out the department's Research Groups. Freshmen may also be interested in one of our CNS Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) streams.

Click on the staff/faculty name to access their contact info and homepage.

The "Skills" entry describes the pre-requisite skills that the undergraduate would ideally need to have for the project. If you do not have all the skills, but are very motivated for a project and are willing to work hard to develop the relevant expertise, then do not be shy. Contact the faculty member to discuss a waiver of the pre-requisite skills or the possibility of taking the project after you take extra courses.

Once you start to work on a research project, please make sure to email the name of your research supervisor and the project topic to the Student Coordinator, Rachel Walker, at rachel@astro.as.utexas.edu. We need this information in order to nominate you for research awards and prizes.

Overview of the Undergraduate Astronomy Program at UT (pdf)

Current Undergraduate Research Projects

Advisor: Michel Breger

Research Project: Investigating the seismology of stars using spacecraft data

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: None

Advisor: Volker Bromm

Research Project: The James Webb Space Telescope and the first supernovae

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Any

Advisor: Barbara Castanheira

Research Project: Spectroscopy of white dwarf stars

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Some computer skills

Advisor: William Cochran

Research Project: Extrasolar planets, solar system

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Familiarity with computers (text editing, basic UNIX commands, simple programming) preferred

Advisor: Michael Endl

Research Project: Data Analysis of Transmission Spectra of Exoplanets

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Basic coding (Fortran, C, etc.)

Advisor: Neal Evans

Research Project: Star/Planet Formation; Working with infrared data from the Herschel Space Telescope. Assisting with collecting/archiving datasets, plus other science projects based on interests.

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Computer competence required; knowledge of IDL a plus but not required.

Advisor: Keely Finkelstein

Research Project: Star Formation and evolution in galaxies. Also possible projects in astronomy education research.

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Some computer/programming experience preferred

Advisor: Steven Finkelstein

Research Project: Discovering the most distant galaxies, and studying how they evolve with time, using large surveys such as CANDELS (candels.ucolick.org) and HETDEX (hetdex.org).

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Any

Advisor: Karl Gebhardt

Research Project: Black holes

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Any

Advisor: Gary Hill

Research Project: Instrumentation for the VIRUS instrument

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Interest in instrumentation. 10hr/week, 1 year committment.

Advisor: Dan Jaffe

Research Project: Optical technology development for Astronomy

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: After instrumentation course

Advisor: Shardha Jogee

Research Project: Formation and evolution of galaxies and black holes

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Preferably computer/programming experience, or a course on galaxies.

Advisor: Pawan Kumar

Research Project: Gamma-ray bursts and other topics related to stellar explosions

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Strong Theory preference

Advisor: John Lacy

Research Project: Data reduction and computer modeling of spectra

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Computer use

Advisor: David Lambert

Research Project: Stellar atmospheres; chemical composition of stars; chemical evolution of the universe

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Depends on specific project. Some experience with IRAF desirable.

Advisor: Edward Robinson

Research Project:

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Reducing and analyzing data

Advisor: John Scalo

Research Project 1: Astrobiology (especially the possibilities for molecular biophysics on extrasolar planets)

Research Project 2: Turbulence and star formation: Simple analytical/numerical models to help identify the power source(s) of star-forming turbulence

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Some programming experience

Advisor: Paul Shapiro

Research Project: Cosmic Dawn: How the first galaxies formed, ended the dark ages, and reionized the Universe

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Students enrolled in the CNS Freshman Research Initiative can continue as summer scholars or mentors following their participation in the Cosmic Dawn FRI

Advisor: Ivan Ramirez

Research Project: Chemical composition of stars with Earth-like planets

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: No previous experience/skills is required

Advisor: J. Craig Wheeler

Research Project: Supernovae, late stages of stellar evolution

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Some computer skills

Advisor: Don Winget

Research Project: White dwarfs, open clusters, planets, debris disks

Research Term: Summer or Academic Year

Skills: Some programming or IRAF experience

Return to undergraduate research homepage

UG-Research Front

Research Opportunities with UT Faculty and Staff

Current Undergraduate Research Projects

UT Research Courses

UT Research Fellowships

Off-campus Research (REUs and more)

Careers in Astronomy