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Bachelor of Science in Astronomy

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Students considering a major in astronomy should confer early with a departmental representative about the selection of courses. The B.A. degree is appropriate for students who want a general education in astronomy as part of a broadly structured liberal education. The B.S. is a more specialized program with a substantial emphasis on physics content as well as astronomy. It provides preparation for a professional career or graduate work in astronomy, astrophysics, or related fields. A total of 120 credit hours is required for graduation.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

All major programs in physics and astronomy share requirements in basic physics and mathematics including PHSX 150, a seminar course for majors. Completion of MATH 121 and MATH 122 in the first year allows students to start calculus-based physics foundation courses (PHSX 211 or PHSX 213, followed by PHSX 212 or PHSX 214) by the second semester. Majors are encouraged to take PHSX 213 and PHSX 214, the honors versions of PHSX 211 and PHSX 212. Students should take these courses and ASTR 391 in their first two years. B.S. astronomy majors normally complete additional course work in mathematics (MATH 223, MATH 290, and MATH 320), as well as PHSX 313 and PHSX 316, in the second year.

Requirements for the B.S. Degree in Astronomy

Foundational Physics, Mathematics, and Basic Science
23.5 hours
Astronomy Requirements 20 hours
Physics Requirements 23 hours
  • PHSX 313 General Physics III (3) and
    PHSX 316 Intermediate Physics Laboratory I (1)
  • PHSX 511 Introductory Quantum Mechanics (3)
  • PHSX 521 Mechanics I (3)
  • PHSX 531 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
  • PHSX 536 Electronic Circuit Measurement and Design (4) or
    PHSX 516 Physical Measurements (4)
  • PHSX 671 Thermal Physics (3)
  • Advanced physics elective (3) (any lecture or laboratory course numbered 500 or higher, including ASTR 795/PHSX 795 Space Plasma Physics and GEOL 572 Geophysics)
Advanced Mathematics Requirements 11 hours

Other Requirements

  • English: satisfaction of the B.A. requirements. If requirements can be met in fewer than 9 hours, the remaining hours become free electives (ENGL 362 Foundations of Technical Writing is accepted as the third English course) (9)
  • Humanities: 2 courses, including at least 1 principal course (6)
  • Social sciences: 2 courses, including at least 1 principal course (6)
  • Western civilization (6)
  • EECS 138 Introduction to Computing: FORTRAN or C++ (3) or
    EECS 168 Programming I (4)
  • Additional credit hours of free electives in courses outside the major are needed to complete the required 120 credit hours

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