Astronomy FSP Cape TownCape Town, South Africa
Program At a Glance
This program is offered once every two years
ABOUT THIS PROGRAM
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a foreign study program in South Africa. Courses are taught by Dartmouth faculty directors on the campus of the University of Cape Town and the South African Astronomical Observatory.
Through first-hand observations and intensive studies, students will learn about stars in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (nearby galaxies) are larger than the full moon and easily visible to the unaided eye.
During the first five weeks of the program, students will be based in Cape Town, learning about astrophysics and observational astronomy through classroom instruction and practical projects. This will include learning how to operate telescopes and running public observing sessions.
This program provides students with a unique opportunity to observe the southern hemisphere night sky at the national observatory of South Africa.
THE STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE
One Introductory physics course:
One Introductory Astronomy Course:
Students share off-campus houses or apartments near the University of Cape Town with fellow program participants and local students. Students are responsible for their own meals, which are not included in the program fee. Students can prepare their own meals or eat at establishments on or off campus.
Approximately one week of the program will be spent at the national observatory in Sutherland (four hours north of Cape Town), a remote location which is home to over 20 professional telescopes, including the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere, SALT. After collecting data for a week, students will return to Cape Town, where they will analyze their data and present the results of their independent research. During this time, students will assist staff at the national observatory in their public outreach efforts by visiting local schools, introducing young learners to the wonders of the night sky and the science of astronomy.
For more information, please see the department website.
"Best program and greatest experience the bio department can possibly provide." - Winter 2020
"The observing run allowed us to live the lifestyle of an astronomer, which was critical to what we were learning in the classroom." -Winter 2019
"The observing time at Sutherland was fascinating. It provided the unique experience of collecting data with large telescopes and created room for lots of spontaneous learning due to contact time with the professor. The extremely dark skies provided an excellent context for students to ask questions and learn about other astronomical things they were interested in." -Winter 2017
Student Voices"The observing run allowed us to live the lifestyle of an astronomer, which was critical to what we were learning in the classroom." - Winter 2019
"Coming on this abroad was probably the best decision I've made at Dartmouth. Academically interesting+rewarding but the right balance so that you can really enjoy your time here.” - Winter 2023
"The Astronomy FSP was by far the best experience I have ever had in Dartmouth. I grew up academically through so many practical lessons, but also grew as a Dartmouth student myself, as I had the opportunity to share so many days of my life with a cohort that would not normally hangout together if not on the program. I created great connections with South Africa, culturally and socially, and also created majestic memories about the country’s history and gorgeous natural sites. And, of course, the view of the Milky Way ripping the southern hemisphere sky was the most peaceful experience I have ever had." - Winter 2023
"This was the experience I had hoped to get out of Dartmouth college. It was a great opportunity to interact with individuals of all years that are studying physics. The South African citizens made it an unforgettable experience." - Winter 2023
"Seeing the stars in Sutherland was the ultimate high to the trip." - Winter 2023
Financing Your Program
Tuition and Fees
The fees charged by the College for a Dartmouth-sponsored off-campus term of study include regular tuition charges for a term at Dartmouth, service fees, as well as the specific costs established for each off-campus study locale. In many programs, the room and board costs tend to be higher than for a term in Hanover. You can view a budget sheet for each program by clicking on the appropriate term under "Financing Your Program". The cost of transportation to and from the site is the responsibility of the student.
In order that all qualified Dartmouth undergraduate students may have the opportunity to take part in off-campus programs, the College endeavors to adjust its normal financial aid awards for students already receiving aid. Tuition and expected family contribution for Dartmouth's off-campus programs are the same as for an on-campus term.
All costs, including airfare and spending money, are considered when determining the cost of an off-campus program. Any costs more than a typical term in Hanover are met with additional Dartmouth Scholarship Funds. If you have a work expectation for the term, this will be replaced by scholarship funding for programs that span the entire term.
Students are responsible for purchasing their own plane tickets and, in many cases, meals. Often this means that part of the expected family contribution is used towards these costs rather than for tuition. For help sorting out who pays what and how, contacting the Financial Aid office is often advisable.