The effect of γ-ray exposure on the electrical characteristics of nickel/n-GaN Schottky barrier diodes has been investigated using current-voltage (I-V), capacitance-voltage (C-V), and deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) measurements. The results indicate that γ-irradiation induces an increase in the effective Schottky barrier height extracted from C-V measurements. Increasing radiation dose was found to degrade the reverse leakage current, whereas its effect on the forward I-V characteristics was negligible. Low temperature (≤50) post-irradiation annealing after a cumulative irradiation dose of 21 Mrad(Si) was found to restore the reverse I-V characteristics to pre-irradiation levels without significantly affecting the radiation-induced changes in C-V and forward I-V characteristics. Three shallow radiation-induced defect centers with thermal activation energies of 88 104 and 144 meV were detected by DLTS with a combined production rate of 2.12 × 10-3 cm-1. These centers are likely to be related to nitrogen-vacancies. The effect of high-energy radiation exposure on device characteristics is discussed taking into account possible contact inhomogeneities arising from dislocations and interfacial defects. The DLTS results indicate that GaN has an intrinsically low susceptibility to radiation-induced material degradation, yet the effects observed in the Schottky diode I-V and C-V characteristics indicate that the total-dose radiation hardness of GaN devices may be limited by susceptibility of the metal-GaN interface to radiation-induced damage.