In this paper, we present the results of spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) studies of Ta2O5 films on Si. Based on these results, we have experimentally determined an effective method for analyzing SE measurements of Ta2O5. A set of CVD-grown Ta2O5 films on silicon – with thicknesses ranging from below 10 nm to approximately 60 nm thick – was investigated by SE in an effort to improve optical film thickness metrology for Ta2O5. The samples were measured across the spectral range 1.5 eV to 6.0 eV by using a well-characterized, high-accuracy rotating-analyzer-type ellipsometer. We present an analysis method, based upon a Tauc-Lorentz parameterization of the optical properties of Ta2O5, that properly describes the SE data. We also demonstrate how optical properties are affected by the presence of an interlayer at the Si/Ta2O5 interface. Our results show small, but meaningful variations in optical parameters resulting from variations in deposition processes and annealing conditions. This work demonstrates that SE can be used successfully to characterize this category of alternate gate dielectrics.