Postdoctoral Scholar in Astrophysics

Job Summary

Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
University of California, Santa Cruz
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description


Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar in Astrophysics

Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. The posted UCSC salary scales set the minimum pay based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See the salary scale titled, Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee /Postdoctoral Scholar-Fellow / Postdoctoral Scholar-Paid Direct -Fiscal Year. A reasonable estimate for this position is $65,000 - $75,000.

Percent time: Full-time (100%)

Anticipated start: As soon as possible after initial review of the applications, but with an expected start date of September 1, 2024. Ph.D. must be in hand at the time of initial appointment (rather than at the time of application).

Position duration: Maximum Duration of Service in a Postdoctoral Title: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time and the initial appointment is for a minimum of two years, with the possibility of reappointment. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at any institution.


Open date: February 8, 2024

Next review date: Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Jun 28, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The University of California Observatories and the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for a postdoctoral scholar, under the direction of Professor Ryan Foley, in the areas of astronomical instrumentation, transient astrophysics, gravitational wave astrophysics, and cosmology.

Candidates should have interests in stellar astrophysics, transient science, supernovae, gravitational waves, cosmology and/or optical instrumentation. The researchers will work with Prof. Ryan Foley on various observational projects, including (but not limited to) SN Ia cosmology, SN explosions/progenitors, gravitational wave counterparts, compact objects, survey science, exotic transients, and telescope instrumentation. Particular potential projects for an incoming researcher include:

  • The Young Supernova Survey (, a wide griz transient survey.
  • The Keck Infrared Transient Survey, a NASA Keck Key Strategic Mission Support program to obtain NIR spectra of hundreds of transients.
  • A JWST program to observe a kilonova, as well as several search/follow-up programs related to gravitational wave sources.
  • Multiple Hubble programs, including a 130-orbit program to observe 100 Type Ia supernovae from the UV to the IR.
  • The Swope Supernova Survey, a targeted uBVgri follow-up program that has already observed hundreds of transients.
  • On-going spectroscopic programs that currently total dozens of 3 to 10-m telescope nights per year.
  • Two Swift Key Projects to observe extremely young transients and Type Ia supernovae.

The postdoctoral scholar will work in part on the DARTS project, a fully automated low-resolution spectrograph that will be built at UCO and installed on the 2.4-m APF telescope at Lick Observatory. DARTS is designed for transient follow-up observations and when completed will be the largest-aperture fully robotic low-resolution spectroscopic facility in the world. This work can cover any of optomechanical design, fabrication, testing/commissioning, software development, or analysis with science verification data. No previous instrumentation experience is required.

Additional functions will be in support of on-going or new initiatives consistent with the broad goals of the research team. The postdoctoral scholar will be encouraged to lead existing and new programs.

The UCSC transient team is currently part of the Foundation Supernova Survey, Swope Supernova Survey, Young Supernova Experiment, Dark Energy Survey, the Keck Infrared Transient Survey, and One-Meter Two-Hemisphere Gravitational Wave Team. The postdoctoral scholar will have access to data from Keck, Lick, Gemini, Magellan, the Dark Energy Survey, Pan-STARRS, Swope, SOAR, KPNO, Swift, HST, and JWST, and will have the right to apply for Lick Observatory telescope time as the principal investigator.

Applicants with expertise in transient observing and optical instrumentation are strongly encouraged to apply.

All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs and should be forwarded to Prof. Ryan Foley at [email protected].

Please refer to Position JPF01692 in all correspondence.


  • Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position (required).
  • Curriculum vitae- Your most recently updated C.V., which must include a list of publications (required).
  • Statement of contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion: Statement addressing your understanding of the barriers facing traditionally underrepresented groups and your past and/or future contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion through teaching and professional or public service. Candidates are urged to review guidelines on statements (see before preparing their application (optional).
  • Two to five non-confidential letters of recommendation (required).

Full consideration will be given to applications completed by February 29, 2024. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled.

University of California Observatories:

Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics:


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in Astrophysics, Physics, or related fields. Degree must be in hand at the time of initial appointment.

Help contact: [email protected]


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see The university sponsors employment-based visas for nonresidents who are offered academic appointments at UC Santa Cruz (see

UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact Disability Management Services at [email protected] (831) 459-4602.

UCSC is committed to addressing the spousal and partner employment needs of our candidates and employees. As part of this commitment, our institution is a member of the Northern California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NorCal HERC). Visit the NorCal HERC website at to search for open positions within a commutable distance of our institution.

The University of California offers a competitive benefits package and a number of programs to support employee work/life balance. For information about employee benefits please visit

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements.

VISIT UC Santa Cruz:


Santa Cruz, California

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$65,000USD to $75,000USD

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Feb 18
Application Deadline
2024 Jun 28


Ryan Foley