May 28, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

Astronomy (BA)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences

Program Educational Goals:

  • Goal 1: “Read critically, analyze arguments and information, and engage in constructive ideation”.  As Astronomy is an observational science, our students will be required to quantitatively analyze a range of natural phenomena, from the basic physical motion of objects (Phys 207/208/227/228) to observing the universe as a whole (Phys 469), providing them the necessary tools scientifically analyze the world as whole.
  • Goal 2: “Communicate effectively in writing, orally, and through creative expression”.  In addition to taking ENGL 110, we anticipate that most of our Astronomy BA majors will be will take History of Physics (PHYS 480) or Computational Physics (PHYS 460) as an upper level elective, courses that satisfies the university’s second writing requirement.
  • Goal 3: “Work collaboratively and independently within and across a variety of cultural context and a spectrum of differences”.  Astronomy is, by its very nature, a “global” science, requiring observational instruments across every continent as well as in space.  As these instruments are located in diverse countries and utilize a multitude of scientists based throughout the world, we believe that the introduction of the Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy will provide interested students the opportunity to join this global conversation.
  • Goal 4: “Critically evaluate the ethical implications of what they say and do”.  All of our departmental majors are required to participate in the department’s FYE (Prospectives on Physics and Astronomy, Phys 169) which, which among many goals, aims to inform our students on the ethical behavior expected of a scientist.
  • Goal 5: “Reason quantitatively, computationally, and scientifically”.  In many ways, Astronomy is the first “science”.  By observing the patterns in the heavens, Astronomers over several millennia have attempted to quantify the motion of the earth and the heavens.  In modern times, this includes computational simulations on a vast array of machines, ranging from smart phone apps to super computers.  Because of this, we require all of our majors to take introduction to computer science (CISC 106), so that our students will be able to communicate and participate with the astrophysical community.

University Requirements:

College Requirements:

College Breadth Requirements:

The College Breadth requirements are in addition to the University Breadth requirement. Up to three credits from each of the University Breadth Requirement categories may be used to simultaneously satisfy these College of Arts and Sciences Breadth Requirements. Minimum grade C- required for courses used to satisfy College Breadth.

*If the grade earned is sufficient, a course may be applied toward more than one requirement (e.g., breadth and major requirements), but the credits are counted only once toward the total credits for graduation. If all but one course in a group has been taken in one department or program, a course cross-listed with that program will not satisfy the distribution requirement.

Foreign Language:

  • Completion of the intermediate-level course (107 or 202) in an ancient or modern language with minimum grades of D-.
    • The number of credits (0-12) needed and initial placement will depend on the number of years of high school study of foreign language.
      • Students with four or more years of high school work in a single foreign language, or who have gained proficiency in a foreign language by other means, may attempt to fulfill the requirement in that language by taking an exemption examination  through the Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department.


The math requirement must be completed by the time a student has earned 60 credits. Students who transfer into the College of Arts and Sciences with 45 credits or more must complete this requirement within two semesters.

Complete one of the following four options (minimum grade D-):

Option One:

Option Two:

One of the following:

Option Three:

Successful completion of any 200-level or higher mathematics course except: MATH 201 , MATH 202 , MATH 205 , MATH 251 , MATH 252 , MATH 253 , and MATH 266 .

Option Four:

  • Successful performance on a proficiency test in mathematics administered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences (0 credits awarded).

Second Writing Requirement:

A Second Writing Requirement  approved by the College of Arts and Sciences. This course must be taken after completion of 60 credit hours, completed with a minimum grade of C-, and the section enrolled must be designated as satisfying the requirement in the academic term completed.


Students may double major in Physics (BA)  and Astronomy, however, with the exception of PHYS 169 , PHYS 207  and PHYS 227 PHYS 208  and PHYS 228 , and PHYS 245 , PHYS courses cannot at the same time count towards the Physics (BA)  or Astronomy major and/or Physics Minor .


After required courses are completed, sufficient elective credits must be taken to meet the minimum credit requirement for the degree.

Credits to Total a Minimum of 124

Last Revised 2021-2022 Academic Year

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences