Astrophysics (modern astronomy) is the application of physics and mathematics to the study of the universe.
For students interested in attending graduate school in astronomy, a thorough grounding in mathematics and physics is essential. To meet the needs of such students, the Astronomy and Physics departments jointly offer an Astrophysics Major consisting of the complete physics major plus four astronomy subjects. One of the upper-level astronomy subjects can be replaced by a Senior Thesis in either Physics or Astronomy.
- Astronomy: Any 100-level course in ASTR w/lab, 206, 311, and any additional 300-level course in ASTR or ASPH
- Physics: PHYS 107, 108, 202, 207, 216, 302, 305, 310, 314
- Mathematics: MATH 215
Typical schedule of courses
Students planning to complete the Astrophysics Major ideally start with a 100-level course with laboratory in ASTR and PHYS 107 in the Fall of their first year, followed by PHYS 108 in the Spring:
|First Year||ASTR 1xx with ASTR 102 lab
(MATH 116 if necessary)
|ASTR 1xx with ASTR 102 lab (if not in fall term)
|Second Year||ASTR 206 (or in 3rd year)
ASTR 206 (if not in 2nd year)
ASTR 311 (or in 4th year)
|(ASTR 303 or 323?)
ASTR 311 (if not in 3rd year)
(ASTR 301 or 360?)
|(ASTR 303 or 323 or 370?)
The Astronomy Major is for students interested in studying astronomy in college, but not intending to go to graduate school in astronomy. This major offers students opportunities to get hands-on experience with telescopes and to work on real research projects in astronomy. Through the physics, math, and astrophysics requirements, the major also develops critical thinking and problem solving skills prized in today's work force. Above all, the major offers students the chance to explore how we have come to understand our place in the Universe.
The Astronomy major consists of ten courses. Required courses include:
- Astronomy: Any 100-level course in ASTR with lab; ASTR 206; two 300-level courses in ASTR.
- Physics: PHYS 107; PHYS 106 or PHYS 108
The other four courses normally include:
- two additional ASTR courses at the 200-level or above
- one course in MATH at the 200-level
- one additional course in ASTR or a related field
Students should consult with faculty about choosing electives and research opportunities appropriate for their fields of study. For example, students interested in planetary sciences should elect ASTR 203 (Planetary Geology) and add courses in geosciences and chemistry. Students working towards teacher certification would add courses in other sciences and in Education, and might coordinate their fieldwork with ASTR 350, while those planning to enter the technical workforce might elect additional courses in computer science.
If you liked your introductory astronomy course, you might want to consider an Astronomy Minor. This program is offered to meet the needs of students in other fields who don't necessarily want to take physics, but who love astronomy.
- Any 100-level course in ASTR, ASTR 206, any ASTR 3xx, and two additional units in astronomy.
Subjects popular with Minors
- ASTR 100 Life in the Universe
- ASTR 201 Motions in the Sky: Archaeoastronomy and the Copernican Revolution
- ASTR 203 Planetary Geology
- ASTR 205 Relativity and Cosmology