Physics and Astronomy

Astronomy Minor



An Astronomy Minor is an excellent way to learn more about Astronomy, whatever your major, and also will enhance your job prospects at places like JPL and NASA, where engineers work on interdisciplinary teams side-by-side with astronomers to design and launch satellites such as the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Kepler Planetary Search Mission.

Note that the Astronomy Minor is not available to students majoring in Physics; these students should instead pursue the Astrophysics Emphasis within the B.S. in Physics, General Degree Option.

The Astronomy Minor consists of 41 total units, including the 25 units in the courses listed below that go beyond freshman physics and prerequisite calculus courses that are taken by most science and engineering majors.

MAT 2140 - Calculus III (4)

MAT 2250 - Linear Algebra with Applications to Differential Equations (4)

PHY 2530/A - Introduction to Electromagnetic Radiation and Special Relativity (3)
PHY 2540/A- Introduction to Thermal and Quantum Physics (3)

The core of the minor consists of three upper-division Astronomy and Astrophysics courses:

AST 3240/A - Observational Astronomy/Computer Activity (3)

An introduction to astrophysical data collection and analysis from both ground-based and space-based telescopes. Concepts, techniques, skills and resources needed to plan, obtain, reduce, and interpret astronomical observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. Emphasis on computer programming and data visualization software.

AST 4240/A - Astrophysics I: Stars and Planetary Systems/Recitation Activity (4) (Fall only)
Physical processes governing the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems. Topics include gravitation, celestial mechanics, physical properties of Solar System objects, stellar atmospheres and spectra, stellar structure and evolution, and extrasolar planetary systems.

AST 4250/A - Astrophysics II: Galaxies and the Universe (4) (Spring only)
Physical processes governing the formation and evolution of galaxies and the universe as a whole. Topics include physical properties of the interstellar medium, black holes and other compact objects, galaxy dynamics, cosmological models, and applications of the general theory of relativity.

For more information on signing up for the Astronomy minor, contact Professor Breanna Binder. You can also get additional information on the Physics minor page.