Astronomy is the study of matters and objects outside the atmosphere of the Earth. This includes the physical and chemical properties of objects such as planets and the milky way. Most of the time, physics is heavily used in the field. That’s why a lot of universities offer Astrophysics in both their undergraduate and graduate program for those who want to have more technical and mathematical knowledge of Astronomy.

Moreover, it is viewed as a natural science wherein it studies even the phenomena of the celestial objects. The topics include the evolution and history of these objects and explaining them through the use of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. That’s why Astronomy is very broad in terms of the subject, thus opening up a lot of opportunities for students who are looking to branch out or utilize their skills in another field.

In this article, we discuss some of the best astronomy schools in the world.

Top Astronomy Schools in the World

1. Harvard University

While Harvard University doesn’t offer a bachelor’s in Astronomy, only Astrophysics, it doesn’t mean that their Astronomy program isn’t prioritized. They have one of the best programs, achieving quite a high rank on QS ranking systems, and along with their already widely known name, it guarantees that Harvard University takes its educational teachings seriously.

A lot of their Ph.D. scientists are somehow related or are working in the Center for Astrophysics. These allow students a variety of teachings from their course offerings and seminars, both in a formal and informal setting. Furthermore, Ph.D. students will be integrated with skills worthy of a first-rate researcher, allowing them to have broad knowledge in their respective fields and have competence when it comes to teaching.

2. University of Cambridge

As one of the best astronomy schools in the world, the University of Cambridge aims to provide students with relevant experience, they are pushed to research under close supervision. This will allow them to apply their disciplines and learnings with proper guidance from their faculty, guaranteeing that mistakes will be adequately and further corrected through efficient instruction.

The number of students admitted to this university is quite small, this is because the program is not fit for students who are preparing for a research Ph.D. in Astrophysics since the Master’s being offered is a Master’s in Philosophy. Other than that, their Ph.D. program takes at least three years, focusing more on research-related skills and teachings.

3. University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley is one of the top astronomy schools as its astronomy program aims to develop an understanding of all things outside our world. Providing them with general skills that include research and laboratory skills, computational and analytical skills, and an education to properly utilize these characteristics.

They have quite a number of special topics in Astronomy, ranging from Spectroscopy to Theoretical Astrophysics. Furthermore, since data is mostly used in this field, the university also offers a boot camp and private lectures when it comes to python coding. This is one of the additional benefits of this program since it is a highly recognized skill in this technological age.

4. California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology heavily equips students with research skills and techniques. That’s why their program mostly includes a great number of research projects and tools, giving their students a vast amount of knowledge in performing research. This is because they are also encouraging higher education and graduate programs to their students.

With Caltech being one of the best astronomy schools in the world, the astronomy program itself is heavily evaluated either through survey forms or even personal consultations with the students. Representatives will regularly meet with students to discuss the quality of education in the university. Moreover, the graduates and alumni often supervise the program through the Annual National Astronomy Meetings, guaranteeing that the quality of education is always checked and approved through different mediums.

5. Princeton University

Princeton University has a small department, that’s why the faculty is quite hands-on and present in the students’ lives. This also allows them to have a flexible program plan seeing as there are only a few students that are majoring in astronomy, specifically ranging from fifteen to twenty students.

Students of this top-notch astronomy school are required to make three independent research projects, this should be a collaboration between the student and a faculty adviser. The topics are varied and wide, such as cosmology, black holes, the early universe, and planetary science to name a few. With the high participation and aid of the faculty in the students’ lives, it is a guarantee that the students can have in-depth knowledge when comes to the research projects.

6. University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is definitely one of the best astronomy schools in the world as it admits only ten undergraduate students each year. Those who are looking for a place in this university should be prepared for a competitive environment during the admission process. However, once you pass, the journey to becoming an astronomer will be very inclusive and influenced by faculty guidance.

The university encourages its students to be engaged and interested in physics as it is one of the core applications that will be utilized in Astronomy. Other than providing fundamental knowledge in Astronomy, they also offer practical courses such as the use of a telescope in third-year courses and frontline research which includes a lot of academic papers.

7. Yale University

Yale University focuses more on discoveries and theories when it comes to the field of Astronomy. In a general sense, they are taught to develop research techniques, quantitative reasoning, and creative innovations or solutions. However, their program does require a prerequisite in high school calculus and physics before being able to enroll in a quantitative introductory course.

Moreover, they have a lot of opportunities for their students. They can apply for a job such as being the Assistant Professor. In this title, students with a background in exoplanets are the ones who have a higher chance of grabbing the position, although everyone in the Ph.D. program is welcome to apply.


We hope this article on the best astronomy schools in the world was helpful. Make sure to also check out our Available Programs for International Students and find out how you can study abroad.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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