We teach undergraduate-level courses in astronomy and astrophysics, targeted at those majoring in astronomy, although there are a number of more generic courses that may be of interest to undergraduates in other areas.
- Current Caltech Astronomy undergraduate students
- Information for Undergraduate Students from the Caltech Course Catalog
Our program has a special emphasis on equipping the students with the tools needed for a successful research career, and virtually all students undertake multiple research projects. The program requires a broad range of physics, mathematics and astrophysics courses, which include practical and computational laboratory exercises. It recommends additional courses tailored to the student plans in mathematical methods, computational methods, engineering or planetary science. It requires both writing and oral presentation courses.
By graduation time, our students are expected to have the following:
- A broad knowledge of fundamental physical laws applying to the world at scales ranging from the nuclear to the cosmological.
- Experience in data and statistical analysis, experimental and observational techniques.
- The equivalent of several quarters of research work.
- Experience in computational methods
- A broad range of problem-solving experience.
The knowledge and skills acquired are consistent with admissions to graduate programs in peer institutions.
Means of evaluation
The outcomes of our program are regularly evaluated through several channels. Students provide course feedback to faculty and teaching assistants directly and through the online TQFR system; graduating students fill out an exit survey; the astrophysics option representative meets with students regularly; the students in the program collectively discuss the program annually with representatives of the faculty as part of the Student Faculty Conference. In addition, alumni outcomes are monitored at annual national astronomy meetings attended by a large fraction of our alumni. The information gathered is discussed in faculty meetings and used to improve class teaching and professor assignments, and to motivate curriculum changes.