BA in Astronomy

Astronomy encompasses the most interesting physical phenomena in the universe, from the atmospheres of planets, to the discovery and characterization of planets orbiting other stars, the nature of galaxies and the stars in them, the supermassive black holes that reside at the centers of all large galaxies, and how the universe got to be the way it is. Astronomy majors gain exposure to the principles of astronomy, physics, and mathematics; and learn to communicate astronomical information effectively to a variety of audiences using the spoken and written word. They develop the skill to think critically and evaluate, interpret, and solve problems related to astronomy, physics, and general scientific topics. The BA in Astronomy prepares students for entry into the competitive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workplace. Students develop the technical skills and problem-solving experience that gives them the tools to work in the modern, high-tech world.

Principal (Required) Courses

A total of 15 courses are required, all completed with a grade of C or higher.

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are 4 credit hours.

  • CAS AS 202
  • CAS AS 203
  • CAS AS 311
  • CAS AS 312
  • CAS AS 441
  • CAS MA 123
  • CAS MA 124
  • CAS MA 225
  • CAS PY 211 (or 251)
  • CAS PY 212 (or 252)
  • CAS PY 313 (or 351)
    and at least four courses from the following list:

    • CAS AS 413
    • CAS AS 414
    • CAS AS 491 (or 492, but not both)
    • CAS PY 355, 405, 408, 410, or 451

Students who enter the program with a strong background in calculus may substitute CAS MA 127 or MA 129 for the combination of MA 123 and MA 124, in consultation with their academic advisor.

Recommended Courses

Any from the above required list if not taken as a principal course, in addition to CAS MA 226, MA 242, PY 406, PY 452, GE 310, CS 111, and CS 112. Students who plan to enter graduate school to study astronomy should take several of the recommended and alternate principal courses, in consultation with an Astronomy academic advisor.