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Astronomy & Astrophysics

For those planning a graduate degree in the field


The major in Astronomy and Astrophysics is a math- and physics-intensive path with a research component for those planning a graduate degree in the field. It is designed to help students mount competitive applications for external undergraduate research opportunities and the country’s top graduate programs.

Students generally declare an astronomy major during the second semester of their sophomore year, but are advised to meet with the undergraduate advisor soon as they begin considering it. This helps ensure they’re prepared with the right courses and are taking advantage of all the opportunities the department has to offer.


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.


Students with a science, math, or engineering major can often incorporate the added dimension of a minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics with only a few additional courses if their degrees already require a significant background in physics.

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