Astronomy FSP Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

Program At a Glance

Terms Offered



Tandem professor and globe icon
Tandem professor and globe icon

Classes In

Students looking at a chalkboard icon
Students looking at a chalkboard icon




college building icon
college building icon

This program is offered once every two years


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 Southern African Large Telescope. 

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.



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.

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. The cost of transportation to and from the site is the responsibility of the student.

Financial Aid

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 in excess of a typical term in Hanover are met with additional Dartmouth Scholarship Funds.  Loan assistance is offered to replace the employment that would normally be included in an on-campus term.

Students are responsible for purchasing their own plane ticket 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, a visit to the Financial Aid Office is often advisable.


Program Resources

Department Contact

Alumni Contact