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The Space Science track is recommended for students pursuing an astronomy-related professional career after graduation.

Astronomy Courses:

ASTRON 191A: First Year Seminar (1 credits, Fall semester only)
ASTRON 228: Astrophysics I: Stars and Galaxies (3 credits, Spring semester only)

JUNIOR YEAR WRITING: Students whose primary major is astronomy should take ASTRON 301: Writing in Astronomy (3 credits, Fall semester only) to satisfy the Junior Year Writing requirement. Students whose primary major is not astronomy, only need take the junior year writing course offered in their primary major.

INTEGRATIVE EXPERIENCE: Students whose primary major is astronomy can take either ASTRON 339: Astronomy in a Global Context (3 credits, Spring semester only) or PHYSICS 440: Intermediate Lab (4 credits, Fall and Spring semesters) to satisfy the Integrative Experience requirement. Students whose primary major is not astronomy, only need to take the integrative experience course offered in their primary major.

ASTRON 335: Astrophysics II: Stellar Structure and Evolution (4 credits, Fall semester only) or ASTRON 452: Astrophysics III: Galaxies and the Universe (4 credits, Spring semester only)

Three additional courses (at least 3 credits each), two at the 200-level or higher and one at the 300-level or higher. Some options for 200 and 300-level astronomy courses:

ASTRON 220: Special Topics in Astronomy (3 credits) ASTRON 223: Planetary Science (3 credits)
ASTRON 226: Cosmology (3 credits)
ASTRON 330: Topics in Astrophysics (3 credits.)
ASTRON 337: Techniques of Optical and Infrared Astronomy (4 credits, fall semester only)

Most faculty members in astronomy are engaged in basic research and undergraduate research opportunities are available through independent study, honor research and summer internships. Although not required, we encourage students to get involved in research.

Physics Courses:

PHYSICS 181: Physics I – Mechanics ( 4 credits with lab, Fall semester only)

PHYSICS 182: Physics II – Electricity and Magnetics (4 credits with lab, Spring semester only)

PHYSICS 271: Mathematical Methods of Physics I (3 credits, Fall semester only)

PHYSICS 272: Physics III: Thermodynamics, Optics and Special Relativity (3 credits, Fall semester only) and PHYSICS 273: Sophomore Lab I (2 credits, Fall semester only)

PHYSICS 276: Physics IV: Introduction to Waves and Quantum Mechanics (3 credits, Spring semester only) and PHYSICS 277: Sophomore Lab II (2 credits, Spring semester only)

PHYSICS 281: Computational Physics (3 credits, Fall or Spring semesters) One additional elective Physics course (at least 3 credits) at the 400+ level

Math Courses:

MATH 131: Calculus I (4 credits, Fall or Spring semesters)
MATH 132: Calculus II (4 credits, Fall or Spring semesters)
MATH 233: Multivariate Calculus (3 credits, Fall or Spring semesters)

Concentration Requirement:

Three courses (each at least 3 credits) in a related field. The courses used to satisfy the concentration requirement cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements listed above. Students should consult with their Department Advisor to formulate a plan. Each student will need to submit a 1 page proposal outlining the 3 courses and the rational behind them. This proposal will need to approved a Department Advisor (the advisor should enter the approved plan in the SPIRE notes).

Examples of Concentration Programs


  • Bio 151,152+153(lab), 285 (cell and molecular biology)


  • Chem 111, 112, and 261: The combination of inorganic and organic chemistry will allow students to get a better handle on chemistry as a whole to then apply this basic understanding to spectroscopic results of pre-biotic molecules. Having organic chemistry 1 will open the doors to begin building a better knowledge of the synthesis of molecules, why molecules form in regio-specific manners and adopt certain isomers. It will serve as a foundation for insight into what molecules cannot be found on Earth but why they may be found in interstellar space.

Astronomy and Math

  • Math 235, 331, and 551 (Int Scientific Computing)

  • Math 235, 331, and Statistics 515

Astronomy and Geoscience

  • Geology 311 (Mineralogy), 321 (Petrology), and 445 (Structural Geology): These courses focus on the chemical and physical properties or minerals, rocks and the larger structures rock make up like tectonic plates. These courses are vital for understanding the formation, dynamics, and possible environments of, not only Earth, but also all bodies composed on similar materials.

  • Geology 321 (Petrology), 441 (Structural Geology), 445 (Sedimentology): These classes will provide knowledge that is crucial to understanding the geologic history and evolution of planetary bodies, and by extension the history and possible future for our home planet

  • Geology 201 (History of the Earth), Geology 231 (Geology Field Methods), and Geology 354 (Climatology)

  • Geology 201 (History of the Earth), Geology 231 (Geology Field Methods), and Geology 311 (Mineralogy)

Astronomy and Computer Science

  • Computer Science 187 (Programming with Data Structures)
  • Computer Science 250 (Introduction to Computation)
  • Computer Science 240 (Reasoning under Uncertainty)

Astronomy and Mechanical Engineering

  • MIE 230 (Thermodynamics), MIE 340 (Fluid Mechanics), MIE 354 (Heat Transfer)

  • MIE 211 (Strengths of Materials), MIE 313 (Design of Mechanical Components), and MIE 354 (Heat Transfer)

Suggested Course Schedule:

Freshman Year:

Fall: ASTRON 191A, PHYSICS 181, MATH 131 Spring: ASTRON 228, PHYSICS 182, MATH 132

Sophomore Year:

Fall: PHYSICS 271, PHYSICS 272/273, MATH 233
Spring: PHYSICS 276/277, PHYSICS 281
Fall or Spring: elective 200+ level astronomy courses, concentration courses

Junior/Senior Years:

Fall: ASTRON 301, ASTRON 335 (fall semester)
Spring: ASTRON 339
Fall or Spring: one additional 400+ level physics courses, 200+ and 300+ astronomy electives, concentration courses