BS in Astronomy & Astrophysics

A professor and a student researching on their personal laptops. In the background are text related to astrophysics

In the Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics, students become well versed in different aspects of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Coursework includes quantum physics, mechanics and astrophysics, as well as a range of electives in computer science and physics topics. Classes incorporate hands-on experience with state-of-the-art telescopes, satellites and data analysis. 

All students in the astronomy and astrophysics major complete a capstone project as well as a symposium course, in which they learn to present their research findings and review their peers’ projects. Students leave the program ready to begin graduate-level education in astronomy, astrophysics, physics or a related field, and they are able to apply their scientific and problem-solving skills in a variety of workplaces


“Everything we are comes from the stars. You cannot understand what our world is made of unless you understand how stars are born and how they die.”

Bill Briscoe
Professor and Chair, Physics Department


Declare a Major

All students should visit the undergraduate program director or another physics advisor before submitting the Declaration of Major/Minor Form. Current advisors are listed on the faculty directory.

Declaration of Major/Minor Form


Capstone Course

Students majoring in astronomy and astrophysics complete a required capstone course. Learning objectives for the capstone include:

  • Working in a mentored learning environment to design and conduct physics research in an ethical manner
  • Exploring and preparing for various careers
  • Practicing how to share research findings with different audiences


Course Requirements 

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Undergraduate Programs.

Program-specific curriculum:

Introductory courses (26 credits)
PHYS 1021University Physics I
PHYS 1022University Physics II
PHYS 2023Modern Physics
MATH 1231Single-Variable Calculus I
MATH 1232Single-Variable Calculus II
MATH 2233Multivariable Calculus
MATH 2184Linear Algebra I
MAE 1117Introduction to Engineering Computations
or CSCI 1012 Introduction to Programming with Python
Advanced courses (49 credits)
MATH 3342Ordinary Differential Equations
PHYS 3100Math Methods for Physics
PHYS 2151WIntermediate Laboratory I: Techniques and Methods
PHYS 2152Intermediate Laboratory II: Instrumentation
ASTR 2121Introduction to Modern Astrophysics
PHYS 3161Mechanics
PHYS 3164Thermal and Statistical Physics
PHYS 3165Electromagnetic Theory I
PHYS 3166Electromagnetic Theory II
PHYS 3167Principles of Quantum Physics
PHYS 3181Computational Physics
PHYS 4195WPhysics Capstone
ASTR 4195Undergraduate Research in Astrophysics
PHYS 4200Physics Symposium
Two elective courses (6 credits) selected from the following:
ASTR 2131Astrophysics Seminar
ASTR 3141Data Analysis in Astrophysics
ASTR 3161Space Astrophysics
One elective course (3 credits) selected from the following:
PHYS 3127Biophysics: Macroscopic Physics in the Life Sciences
PHYS 3128Biophysics: Microscopic Physics in the Life Sciences
PHYS 3163Physical and Quantum Optics
PHYS 4170Solid-State Physics
PHYS 4175Nuclear Physics