Undergraduate Program in Astronomy
Astronomy Students Association at McDonald Observatory
The Department of Astronomy at UT Austin is one of the top 10
astronomy research programs in the United States. Our faculty
members are among the worldwide leaders in cosmology, galaxies,
stars, the interstellar medium, planets, the solar system, and
instrumentation. With twenty-two active teaching faculty,
seventeen research scientists, a number of research associates
and postdoctoral fellows, 45 graduate and 90 undergraduate
students, the department fosters a stimulating and friendly
atmosphere that promotes intellectual development and diversity.
Explore Our Universe: Undergraduate Programs at The University of Texas
Our undergraduate students have the rare opportunity to take classes and conduct research with some of the world's top astronomers. After students complete some core courses, our faculty/research staff offer exciting research opportunities, including working with data taken by NASA's telescopes and with ground-based telescopes all over the world (including our own McDonald Observatory in West Texas), as well as projects in theoretical and computational astrophysics.
We reward excellence in our students through a Freshman Prize
for Excellence and numerous merit and research awards for
advanced undergraduate students including the Karl G. Henize
endowed scholarship, the Board of Visitors scholarship, and
the Outstanding Senior Award. We provide financial support
for our students to travel to conferences and observatories,
including our McDonald Observatory in West Texas, where
they benefit from the world's largest telescopes, advanced
instrumentation, and dark skies. (Undergraduate Awards)
The Astronomy program helps to prepare undergraduate students
for further education in graduate school or/and many career
paths spanning education, research, computing, government and
journalism. And above all, it gives students the opportunity
to join the great intellectual adventures and explorations of
If you have questions, please contact us at:
Department of Astronomy
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712
phone: (512) 471-3350
fax: (512) 471-6016
hours: M-F: 8-12, 1-5 PM
Prof. John Lacy
Assistant Undergraduate Advisor
Dr. Keely Finkelstein
In the News
James Diekmann Wins Outstanding Senior Award
James Diekmann has been awarded this year's Department of Astronomy Outstanding Senior award. This award is given to a graduating senior for outstanding overall performance (grades, research, service to department and community). He has spent the last two years working with Assistant Professor Steven Finkelstein on a difficult research project to identify the brightest galaxies at a redshift of eight, and also played a crucial role in a recently accepted proposal to image fields thought to contain candidates for galaxies at a redshift of nine with the Spitzer Telescope
Sarafina Nance Wins Karl G. Henize Award
The Karl G. Henize Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior who intends to pursue a graduate career in Astronomy. Sarafina Nance has been selected as this year's recipient.
Sarafina is a double major in physics and astronomy and a member of the prestigious Dean’s Scholars Program at UT. She is active in the Astronomy Student’s Association and has participated in our Undergraduate Research Symposium. Professor Craig Wheeler writes "I have known Sarafina for about three years and am quite impressed with her verve, energy and passion to do astronomy."
Board of Vistors Undergraduate Scholarship Awarded to Taylor Hoyt
Taylor Hoyt submitted this year’s winning essay for the Board of Visitors (BoV) Undergraduate Scholarship. This award is given annually to an astronomy student for excellent overall performance. Taylor has been very active in the department throughout his career at UT. While in the White Dwarfs Freshman Research Initiative (FRI), under the supervision of Don Winget and Mike Montgomery, Taylor learned to quickly navigate the smaller obstacles that often spring up while doing research and how to direct his energy to the more important part – the science.
Rebecca Larson Wins the Ralph Cutler Greene Award
Rebecca Larson is this year’s recipient of the Ralph Cutler Greene Award. Excellent research performance, as well as service to the department, University and community are considered in this competition. Rebecca’s first research project, in collaboration with Professor Neal Evans and Dr. Joel Green, where she used Herschel data to confirm prediction for signatures of decay of turbulence through low-speed shocks in molecular clouds has netted her a first-author paper in the Astrophysical Journal. more...
...more at In the News