Department of Astronomy

567 Sears Library Building
Phone: 216.368.3278
Stacy S. McGaugh, Department Chair

The Department of Astronomy offers two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts. The BS provides a rigorous sequence of subject-specific courses, while the BA degree provides somewhat more flexibility in the choice of courses. The department also offers a minor in astronomy.

The curriculum emphasizes a broad and substantial education in astronomy, physics, and mathematics. A faculty actively engaged in research provides first-rate instruction and opportunities for undergraduate involvement in research.

A bachelor’s degree in astronomy can prepare students for graduate study in astronomy (about 50% of our graduates take this path), but those who seek employment in other fields can fill the same jobs as physics and computer science majors.

The department offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in astronomy. Current research provides opportunities in observational and theoretical studies of galaxy formation and evolution, galaxy cluster evolution, and cosmology.


The Department of Astronomy oper­ates the Kitt Peak Station of the Warner and Swasey Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., home of the Burrell Schmidt telescope. This telescope is used for surveys and ultra-deep imaging with a large format CCD.

On the Case Western Reserve campus, a 9.5-inch refractor permanently mounted on the roof of the A. W. Smith Building is available for use by students. The department also houses a research and instruction computer labo­ratory and has access to the university's high-performance computing cluster. 

Department Faculty

Stacy S. McGaugh, PhD
(University of Michigan)
Professor and Chair; Director, Warner and Swasey Observatory
Galaxy formation and evolution; low surface brightness galaxies; cosmology; dark matter and gravity

William F. Janesh, PhD
(Indiana University)
Searches for dwarf galaxies; development of software tools

J. Christopher Mihos, PhD
(University of Michigan)
Worcester R. and Cornelia B. Warner Professor of Astronomy
Galaxy evolution; interacting and merging galaxies; galaxy clusters; computational and observational astronomy

Adjunct Faculty

Jeffery R. Kriessler, PhD
(Michigan State University)
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Substructure in galaxy clusters

Secondary Faculty

John Ruhl, PhD
(Princeton University)
Connecticut Professor, Department of Physics
Experimental astrophysics and cosmology

Glenn D. Starkman, PhD
(Stanford University)
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Physics
Theoretical cosmology; particle physics; astrophysics


R. Earle Luck, PhD
(University of Texas at Austin )
Worcester R. and Cornelia B. Warner Emeritus Professor of Astronomy

Heather Morrison, PhD
(Australian National University )
Professor Emerita