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Interdisciplinary Astronomy

For those seeking a second major rich in astronomy content


The Interdisciplinary Astronomy (IDA) major is an ideal second major for students seeking to add astronomy content to their primary degree. It provides the solid scientific background needed for technical positions in astronomy or for careers like teaching, science writing, and outreach.

Students pursuing their primary degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field can add an IDA major with little additional coursework. With appropriate advance planning, humanities students can use it to add a STEM focus to their degree.

The IDA major includes foundational courses in math and physics, but the requirements in these areas are less intensive than for the Academic Track. It is designed to be adapted to each student’s career goals; please meet with an advisor to learn how the IDA major can be customized for you.


Students who are interested in scholarly research in astronomy and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 are encouraged to consider the honors plan. Students with a lower GPA may be admitted to the honors plan at the discretion of the department advisor. The Astronomy honors plan requires writing a senior Honors thesis based on research done in collaboration with a faculty member. Interested students should consult with the department advisor by the beginning of their junior year.

Possible Programs:

The following are examples of possible programs. Each program includes the prerequisites and requirements noted above, plus 15 credits from the student’s primary major. The IDA major is designed to be flexible, and course selection is tailored to students' goals and preferences in consultation with the astronomy advisor.


If you enjoy astronomy but don’t plan to major in it, an astronomy minor on the Interdisciplinary Track can be a great way to incorporate the field into your existing course of study. Because the physics demands are less intensive than on the Academic Track, it’s often easier for non-science majors to fit an Interdisciplinary Astronomy minor into their schedules. Students interested in this option should meet with an undergraduate advisor to develop a course plan tailored to their goals and interests.

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