University of Cape Town

Dept. of Astronomy

Dept. of Physics

Dept. of Maths and Applied Maths

South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO)

The University of Cape Town, on the slopes of Devil's Peak, overlooking Table Bay.



The Vanderbilt—Cape Town Partnership

A research and student exchange program in astronomy, physics, and materials science.

Research Projects | Courses and Training | Faculty and Students
Fisk University | University of the Western Cape



Vanderbilt University

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

Materials Science Program

SMARTS Telescopes at CTIO

About Vanderbilt

About Nashville

Vanderbilt University is located near downtown Nashville.

Courses and Training

South African National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP)

South Africa has a long history of excellence in astronomy, a sound high-tech infrastructure and clear skies. But southern Africa's rich, diversified expertise in astrophysics and space science has never been available to students in one place, until now. Researchers from around the region have forces to create a cooperative, combined programme where South African student and students from around Africa and the rest of the world can study postgraduate degrees while being mentored and taught by a "dream team" of South Africa's leading scientists.

The University of Cape Town Postgraduate Programme in Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Department of Astronomy at UCT is the largest university-based astronomy group in the country and has strong ties (and joint positions) with the South African Astronomical Observatory situated 3 km from campus. Lectures are given by staff in the NASSP consortium and cover most areas of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology. In addition to lecture courses, students are expected to take a substantial practical component which will involve several field trips to some of southern Africa's space science research facilities. These include the South African Astronomical Observatory site at Sutherland where the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT, the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere) is located; the radio telescope facility at Hartebeesthoek and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS).

The Vanderbilt PhD Program in Physics & Astronomy

Both theoretical and observational research is carried out at Vanderbilt. Observational work is carried out at various national, international and space-platform facilities. In addition, Vanderbilt is a partner in the SMARTS Consortium, which operates the four smaller telescopes (0.9m, 1.0m, 1.3m, 1.5m) at CTIO. Computational work is conducted on Vanderbilt's ACCRE (Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education), a 1500-node supercomputing facility. The graduate program in Astronomy (Ph.D. in Physics with dissertation research in astronomy/astrophysics) provides a good background and sound experience in the fields of observational and theoretical astrophysics.

The Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-toPhD Bridge Program

By completing a Masters degree under the guidance of caring faculty mentors, students in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge program develop the strong academic foundation, research skills, and one-on-one mentoring relationships that will foster a successful transition to the PhD. The program, which usually requires two years, is flexible and is individualized to the goals and needs of each student. Courses are selected to address any gaps in undergraduate preparation, and research experiences are provided that allow students to develop—and to demonstrate—their full scientific talent and potential.