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 (matriculated after Fall 2018)

  • 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)

Course Requirements (matriculated before Fall 2018)

  • Astronomy: Any 100-level course in ASTR w/lab, ASTR 206, and three elective courses above the 100 level (with at least two at the 300 level).
  • Physics: PHYS 107, 108, 202, 207.
  • Mathematics: any 200-level course

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 overlay 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.