Astronomy Major

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 12 courses.   

Course Requirements

  • Astronomy: ASTR 107, ASTR 206, an additional 200-level course, and two 300-level courses (one of which can be in a related field).
  • Physics: 100, 107, 108, 120, 205, 207.
  • Mathematics: MATH 215 (Note that MATH 115 and 116 are prerequisites for MATH 215)

Students interested to pursue planetary science in graduate school are encouraged to supplement their program with courses in the Geoscience department as well as PHYS 210 (optics & electronics laboratory) and a statistics course to satisfy their QR requirement. Students interested to pursue careers in education and public outreach are encouraged to complete additional coursework in the Education department and the Writing Program.

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 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.