Skip to Main Content

Astrophysics Course Details

The UMBC Physics Department offers a range of Astronomy/Astrophyics courses for those interesting undergraduates needing to fullfil their GFE requirements (i.e. non-calculus/conceptual courses) to Graduate-level electives. Science-orientated students should also be aware that UMBC offers a Astronomy Minor.

Courses for Non-Science Majors

PHYS105
Ideas in Astronomy
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: None
A general-interest course that covers observations, models and theories of the solar system, the stars and the galaxies. Students also will become acquainted with the history of astronomy. Prerequisite: Mathematical ability at the level of high school algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
[More Info…]
PHYS106
Introduction to Astrobiology
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: None
The prospect of extraterrestrial life is considered in the context of the evolution of the Universe and of life on Earth. Course material is taken largely from astronomy, planetology, and biology although the multidisciplinary nature of this topic also requires basic information in chemistry, geology, and physics. While a broad overview is stressed, some topics will be treated in depth. While no formal experience in physics or astronomy is required, some familiarity with basic concepts in astronomy is helpful.
[More Info…]

Courses for Science Majors

PHYS304
Fundamentals of Astronomy and Astrophysics
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS122
This course presents a calculus-based introduction to key concepts in the science of astronomy and astrophysics. The course is designed for physics majors and other science majors with strong interest in astronomy, physics and mathematics. The course details some of the primary physical concepts relevant to astronomy and astrophysics and also lays the foundation for more advanced coursework in astrophysics.
[More Info…]
PHYS315
Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS112
The formation, structure and dynamics of normal galaxies, dark matter, the evolution of elliptical and spiral galaxies, quasars, radio galaxies and active galaxies. Theoretical models will be compared to observations in radio, IR, optical, X-ray and gamma-rays.
[More Info…]

Courses for students taking the Astronomy Minor

The Astronomy Minor consists of PHYS121, PHYS122, PHYS304 (11 credits), and a minimum of three (additional 9 credits) from the following courses:

PHYS315
Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS112
The formation, structure and dynamics of normal galaxies, dark matter, the evolution of elliptical and spiral galaxies, quasars, radio galaxies and active galaxies. Theoretical models will be compared to observations in radio, IR, optical, X-ray and gamma-rays.
[More Info…]
PHYS405
Stellar Astrophysics
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS304
A survey of the life and death of stars. Topics include star formation, stellar structure and evolution, stellar death (white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes), supernovae, binary star systems, accretion onto compact objects and X-ray sources.
[More Info…]
PHYS415
AstroParticle Physics
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS304
Production and detection of high –energy radiation and particles from astrophysical sources including X-, Gamma, and cosmic-rays. The current technological limitations on the spatial, spectral, and timing analysis of these data will be explored. Students will gain “hands on” experience with real astronomical data obtained from the archival databases and state-of-the-art astronomical software.
[More Info…]
PHYS416
ExtraGalactic Astronomy & Cosmology
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS304
An advanced study of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, including evidence for the Big Bang and the expanding universe, the very early universe, inflation theories, the formation of light elements in the early universe, and the thermal history of the universe. It will also include a study of the fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the development of primordial fluctuations under gravity, the effect of dark matter on the formation of large-scale structure in the universe, and the measurement of the cosmological parameters.
[More Info…]
PHYS425
Relativistic Physics
(3 credits)
Prerequisite: PHYS321 & PHYS324
pecial relativity, general relativity from a modern viewpoint, the Schwarzschild solution, other solutions of the Einstein field equation, the role of general relativity in astrophysics and an introduction to the unified field theories.
[More Info…]