The Joint Center for Astrophysics (JCA) is a research group within the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Beginning in 1999, Astrophysics is a relatively young program at UMBC, but thanks to the support of the Physics Department and UMBC Administration, it has grown rapidly.
Currently, the program consists of five tenured or tenure-track faculty based on campus, and approximately 40 faculty based at NASA’s nearby Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Currently UMBC offers both undergraduate and graduate courses in astrophysics, an astronomy minor, and M.S. and PhD degrees in Applied Physics.
Activities of the JCA include research in high energy astrophysics, developing Undergraduate & Graduate educational opportunities in astronomy for UMBC students, and participation in outreach educational activities to the university and the surrounding community.
The JCA maintains a close relationship with UMBC’s Center for Space Science & Technology (CSST) which is administers UMBC’s participation in the CRESST Consortium‘s relationship with the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD. UMBC’s relationship with GSFC provides an amazingly broad range of research opportunities in astrophysics-related topics for both undergraduate and graduate students. These include “hands-on” development of balloon & spacecraft instrumentation, data analysis, and theoretical studies.