Major/Minor Requirements

Astrophysics Major

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.

Course requirements

  • Astronomy: ASTR 107 (or, for students who started before Fall 2018, any 100-level course in ASTR w/lab), ASTR 206, ASTR 311 and any other 200 or 300 level ASTR course.
  • Physics: PHYS 107, 108, 202, 207, 216, 302, 305, 310, 314
  • Mathematics: MATH 215

Typical schedule of courses

Students intending to major in astrophysics may consult this chart to determine the sequence of physics courses.  In addition, students are strongly encouraged to take:

  • First year: an introductory course in astronomy (ASTR 107 if started after Fall 2018; alternatively: ASTR 101 or ASTR 100 with lab if started before Fall 2018).
  • Fall of sophomore or junior year: ASTR 206 on astronomical techniques.
  • Any semester: any additional 200-level or 300-level course in ASTR,
  • Fall of junior or senior year:  ASTR 311.

Astronomy Major

For students intending to pursue a Ph.D. in Astronomy, we offer, jointly with the Department of Physics, a major in Astrophysics. For students interested in other pursuits, such as a Ph.D. in Planetary Science or careers in education, data science, scientific and technical computing, and public outreach (e.g., museum staff, journalism), we offer a major in Astronomy. The major consists of 10 courses. 

Course Requirements

  • Astronomy: ASTR 107 (or, for students who started before Fall 2018, any 100-level course in ASTR w/lab), ASTR 206, and three elecetive courses above the 100 level (with at least two at the 300 level)
  • Physics: PHYS 107, 108, 202, 207
  • Mathematics: MATH 215

Honors in Astronomy

To earn honors in the major, students must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. The student must complete a significant research project culminating in a paper and an oral examination. The project must be conducted after the junior year and approved in advance by the department, and might be satisfied by a thesis, a summer internship, or a 350. See Academic Distinctions.

Astronomy Minor

A minor in Astronomy consists of five units in ASTR, including ASTR 202 or 206, and any 300-level course.