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Academics » Undergraduate Studies

If you are already registered for an introductory class (ASTR 105G or ASTR  110G), please check here for various information and links to individual web pages for different sections.

For the location of our main classroom in the Biology Annex, BX102, look for the Biology Annex on this campus map. To find the location of the on-campus Tombaugh Observatory, look here.

A good listing of undergraduate opportunities to conduct astronomy research can be found here. There are many excellent summer programs spread throughout the United States. They offer the chance to observe with telescopes, and to analyze images and spectra of astronomical objects such as extrasolar planets, hot stars, and distant galaxies.

If you are interested in applying to graduate schools in astronomy or in physics, a description of the process, and helpful hints, can be found here, and here.

Undergraduate Courses

A complete listing of our undergraduate astronomy courses can be found in the online catalog. Here is a quick summary of our most popular courses.

1. We offer two 100-level courses which fulfill the general education Laboratory Science requirement: ASTR 105G (The Planets), and ASTR 110G (Introduction to Astronomy). Multiple sections of both of these courses are available every semester. These classes include a two hour lab section each week, for 4 total credits.

2. We offer four 300-level courses which fulfill the general education Viewing a Wider World requirement: ASTR 301V (Revolutionary Ideas in Science), ASTR  305V (The Search for Life in the Universe), ASTR 308V (Into the Final Frontier), and 330V (Planetary Exploration). At least two of these courses are available every semester.

3. We offer two 400-level courses (each one every other year): ASTR 401 (Topics in Modern Astrophysics) and ASTR 402 (Introduction to Astronomical Observations and Techniques).

Undergraduate Minor

The Astronomy Department is pleased to offer a minor degree in astronomy. This provides an attractive opportunity for majors in a variety of scientific fields to broaden their experiences and to prepare for graduate work in astronomy or astrophysics. We have two additional minor tracks specifically designed to address the needs and interests of students from the Colleges of Education and Engineering. Any undergraduate may pursue any of the three minor tracks, and all three tracks enable interested students to participate in astronomical research during their undergraduate training.

The requirements for the astronomy minor tracks are as follows.

Show Regular Minor

Show Minor with emphasis on Engineering

Show Minor with emphasis on Education

Students who complete both ASTR 401 and ASTR 402 may use both courses toward fulfilling the requirements of the minor degree.

Students interested in the astronomy minor degree should contact the astronomy department head, or one of the other faculty members, as early as possible to make sure they are well informed on the requirements. In particular, the 400-level courses require strong preparation in mathematics and physics. Students should be comfortable with calculus, including integration and differentiation, statistics and probability, and basic physics, including some classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and modern physics. Undergraduates must obtain the consent of the instructor to enroll in ASTR 405, ASTR 406, or ASTR 435; approval is dependent upon having the required skills and background.

To become an astronomy minor you will need to print and complete one of the following PDF-format forms for the regular, engineering, or education minor track and have it signed by the astronomy department head Jon Holtzman.

You can declare your intent/interest in an Astronomy minor by filling out the College of Arts and Sciences Request for Change of Major form. The official request to put the minor on your transcript is done using the Star Audit system in your final semester, which will check to make sure that you have completed all of the requirements.