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Astronomy Minor

A minor in astronomy is offered to students who are preparing for a career in astronomy or astrophysics, or to those who are interested in an in-depth survey of modern astronomy. The minor is open to students with a major in any discipline.

The courses comprising the Astronomy Minor are listed below, the number in parentheses denotes the number of credits for that course. There are 3 initial courses which are required (with 11 credits), followed by a number of optional courses which can be taken to make up the required number of (20) credits.

Required Prerequisite Courses

PHYS 121(4) Introductory Physics I
PHYS 122(4) Introductory Physics II [Prereq PHYS 121]
PHYS 304(3) Fundamentals of Astronomy [Prereq PHYS 122]

Additional Course Requirements for the Astronomy Minor:

Following completion of the above (required) courses, students should select at least three (3) of the following to acquire the mandatory (20) credits required to complete the Astronomy Minor:

PHYS 315(3) Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium
PHYS 405(3) Stellar Astrophysics
PHYS 415(3) Observational Astronomy (but see below)
PHYS 416(3) ExtraGalactic Astronomy and Cosmology
PHYS 425(3) Relativistic Physics (but see below)

These additional courses can be taken in any order. Please see Individual Course Descriptions for more details of the topics & levels covered.

Sequence of Courses

Currently it is planned that PHYS304 will be offered every Fall semester. However it is anticipated that only one of the additional courses required for the Astronomy Minor will be taught each semester (eg. see the Astronomy-related course schedule for a listing of courses taught in the recent past and provisionally projected to be taught in the near future). Thus in order to satify the requirements of the Minor you should plan your course schedule carefully at least 4 semesters before your anticipated graduation date. All students anticipating graduating in 4 years should certainly plan on taking PHYS304 by the Fall of their Junior year. Of course students who are able to successfully complete PHYS121 & PHYS122 prior to the start of their Sophomore year may wish to consider taking PHYS304 that Fall.

Additional Notes

  • In the very near future we anticipate renaming PHYS415 Observational Astronomy to Astroparticle Physics in order to better reflect the contents of the syllabus.
  • PHYS425 Relativistic Physics currently has additional PHYS prerequisites which makes it difficult to include except for Physics Majors.
  • Any/all of the courses are also open as electives to students of any discipline who meet the prerequistes. To date (2005 July), students with the following majors have passed one or more of the astrophysics courses with grade B or better: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering,Mathematics, and Physics.