Astronomy Major

Astronomy Major

For students interested to pursue graduate study in planetary science or careers in education, journalism, computing, or public outreach in museums, we offer a major in Astronomy. Majors in Astronomy will have a broad understanding of the varied phenomena in the heavens, from the solar system and stars to the realm of galaxies and the large-scale structure and evolution of the universe. They will understand the motions of the night sky, be familiar with modern observational techniques and computational tools, and have carried out an independent project using our 24-inch telescope. They will have the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills necessary to understand astronomical research, and the ability to communicate these results with clarity and precision, both orally and in writing.

Course requirements

  • Astronomy: Any 100-level ASTR course with lab (ASTR 107 is required for students beginning in Fall of 2018 and after); ASTR 206; two 300-level courses in ASTR and any additional 200-level course in ASTR.  
  • Physics: PHYS 107, 108, 202, and 207.
  • Mathematics: MATH 215

Students should consult with faculty about choosing electives and research opportunities appropriate for their fields of study. For example, students interested in planetary science should elect ASTR 203/303/GEOS 213/313 (Planetary Geology & Geophysics) and ASTR 223/GEOS 223 (Planetary Atmospheres & Climates), PHYS 216, and additional courses in geosciences and chemistry. Students working toward teacher certification might 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. Students planning to pursue graduate study in astronomy should instead elect an interdepartmental major in Astrophysics.