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  • Locations: Melbourne, Australia; San Diego, United States
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • **
Fact Sheet:
Credit Type: Resident Credit Program Type: Department-Led Program
SDSU Office: Sciences
Program Description:
Exploring Career Options at World Class Observatories in Hawai'i and Australia 
So.Cal, Hawai’i & Australia

June 20 – August 3, 2018
  • San Diego: June 20 – June 30
  • Hawai’i: July 3 – 6
  • Australia: July 7 – 22
  • San Diego: July 31 – August 3 (review and exam)

March 15, 2018

*Estimate/see details below

Preparing students to enter the workforce as professional support scientists/engineers. 
The goal of the course is to introduce students to world class observatories and research facilities; to expose students to the life, work and expectations of a Support Scientist position; and give students a cross-cultural perspective on studying and working in related scientific/engineering fields. As the next generation of major facilities come online, there will be a great need for Support Scientists to direct and lead operations.
SDSU has been very successful at placing our astronomy graduates as Support Astronomers within prestigious observatories across the world. This course will introduce students to topics of importance as support scientists at major research facilities. This course is designed to broaden student exposure to techniques and practices that will enable them to be highly successful at these positions and that are not covered within our core curriculum. To further prepare students for future careers we will introduce students to cutting-edge frontiers of science including gravitational wave and mili-second radio astronomy.

Students will enroll for three units of resident credit at SDSU.
This program offered by the SDSU College of Sciences and is managed by the SDSU Office of International Programs.

  • ASTR 596 Enabling High Impact Science a Global Perspective
    • Counts as an elective in the following fields (Astronomy, Physics and possibly Engineering)

San Diego
Big Island of Hawai’i
Australia (Melbourne, Sydney and points in between)
 ACTIVITIES (subject to change)

San Diego/Southern California
  • Course introduction at SDSU Campus
  • Field Trip to Jet Propulsion  Laboratory, site tour and talk with SDSU alumni
  • Field Trip to the Thirty meter telescope (TMT)
  • Palomar Observatory
  • Mount Laguna Observatory & Star Party
  • CCD Camera Lab
Hawai'i Big Island
  • Visit the Keck Observatory for private "behind the scene" tour
  • Special talks and discussions with Keck staff including SDSU Astronomy alumnus: Randy Campbell
  • Visit Keck Headquarters
  • Classes at Swinburne University of Technology,  Melbourne
  • Visit Molongolo Observatory, operated by the Physics department of the University of Sydney
  • Visit the AAT Siding Spring telescope - located near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia 
  • Visit the Parkes Radio Telescope, known as “the dish.”
  • Visit Centre for Astrophysics and supercomputing. Stalwell gold mine dark matter detector (if available)
  • Free day in Sydney (activities not included in program cost)
Dr. Jeff Cooke
SDSU astronomy alumnus, and co-leader of the proposed course, Dr. Jeff Cooke, is faculty at Swinburne. Jeff has extensive experience in the field of study covered by the course and frequently collaborates with SDSU astronomy Department faculty members. Through Jeff, SDSU has had the pleasure of sending students to Swinburne for research projects and currently has an SDSU Astronomy Master’s graduate in the PhD program at Swinburne. Expansion of this collaboration is planned   Jeff has resided in Melbourne for over 6 years and has a large number of academic and personal contacts in Australia. Jeff will be leading and fully participating in the Australian experience of this course and will provide valuable insight into the history and cultural nuances that might otherwise be missed. In addition, Jeff has visited the Keck Observatory more than 60 times in the last 17 years and has led observational runs at all the facilities involved in this program and at major observatories in Chile, the Canary Islands, the US (AZ, CA, HI), Australia, South Africa, the Antarctic, and in space. His research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, supernovae in the early Universe, and the detection of fast transients using multi-messenger, multi-wavelength astronomy.
John “Chuck” Horst
Chuck is an SDSU Astronomy Masters Student alumni and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Astronomy at San Diego State University. Chuck is a highly experienced observer with over 150 observing nights at numerous observatories including many of those involved in this program.  He is the principal observer trainer at Mount Laguna Observatory and is responsible for preparing graduate students to conduct research.  Chuck is on the scientific team of numerous astronomy research programs and provides observing, data processing, and analysis support. He has developed data visualization tools being used for one of the worlds largest astronomy research effort.  Chuck also holds a patent for an image acquisition technique.  His research interests include  extragalactic stronomy, supernovae, galaxy formation, observing practices, and information technology.
Program cost: $3,050*
Airfare: $2,300-$2,500*
Meals: $650*
  • Program fee paid to Swinburne University: $TBA
  • Tuition paid to SDSU: $891
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance Plan: $75
2018 Payment Schedule 
  • TBA
Withdrawal Policy
If you intend to withdraw from the program you must notify the SDSU Office of International in writing.
Email notification is acceptable:
Refund Policies
  • Program Fees paid to Swinburne University are subject to their refund and withdrawal policies. 
  • Refunds for course tuition follow the College of Extended Studies (CES) standard refund policy.  
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance is non-refundable after May 1
Included in the Program Cost
  • Three units of SDSU Resident Credit
  • Housing in Hawai’I and Australia
  • Site visits listed above
  • Ground transportation in Hawai’I and Australia for scheduled activities
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance
Not included in the fee
  • International airfare
  • Meals throughout program
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities during free time
Funding and Scholarship Information 
Apply for the SDSU Associated Students Study Abroad Scholarship
Deadline: Feb 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Participants are eligible for a $500 OIP Scholarship (application required)

Participants will need a passport valid for 6 months past the entry date.
SDSU Passport Office

  • Applicants should have completed at least one upper division course from one of the following areas: Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science. Engineering – Aerospace, Computer or Mechanical.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • Open to undergraduate and graduate students
  • SDSU students cannot be on academic probation (less than 2.0 GPA) or disciplinary probation (expulsion, judicial, or suspension) at the time of application and/or at the time of course registration. 
  • Minimum age to participate is 18
  • Non-SDSU students may participate with instruction of the professor.
All participants must complete BOTH a mandatory online pre-departure orientation as well as a program-specific orientation(s) with their faculty leader(s) prior to departure. Details about both will be sent after acceptance into the program.
This Aztecs Abroad online application must be completed by March 15, 2018

Professor Chuck Horst <>

Maureen Crawford
International Coordinator
SDSU College of Sciences
619 594 1813


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.