Astronomy and Astrophysics

major

Curious about what's out there? Students who are comfortable with mathematics and physics and who want to understand the nature of the Solar System and other planetary systems, stars, galaxies and/or the universe are encouraged to pursue a B.A. in Astronomy or a B.S. in Astrophysics.

About this Program

To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college, and major requirements.

Department Information

The Department of Astronomy is home to a vibrant community actively engaged in research, education, and outreach. The department's faculty are involved in a wide range of research programs using world-class resources including an in-house design-through-fabrication instrumentation program, partner level access to the Gran Telescope Canarias, the HiPerGator-2 supercomputer, and more.
Website

CONTACT

Email | 352.294.1870 (tel) | 352.392.5089 (fax)

P.O. BOX 112055
211 BRYANT SPACE SCIENCE CENTER
GAINESVILLE FL 32611-2055
Map

Curriculum

The knowledge acquired and the analytical skills developed provide excellent broad-based training for careers in industry, education and government as well as preparation for graduate study in astronomy and astrophysics, science education, engineering, law, and medicine.

The Department of Astronomy offers two undergraduate degree options.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Astronomy

Broader and less specialized than the B.S., with the aim of developing and sharpening analytical and quantitative reasoning while at the same time cultivating broader knowledge that can be applied to a variety of careers, including business, law, the health professions, science writing, and teaching.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Astrophysics

Designed for students who intend to pursue careers in a scientific or technical field by continuing to study astronomy, astrophysics or physics at the graduate level or to commence study in some related field such as planetary science.

Coursework for the Major

All students are required to take 10 core courses in mathematics, physics and astronomy. The B.A. in astronomy requires a total of 41 credits; the B.S. in astrophysics requires a minimum of 62 credits. Students pursuing the B.A. have fewer additional required astronomy and physics courses, which offers greater flexibility for taking courses in other disciplines.

All required courses must be completed with minimum grades of C.

Required Courses for Both Degrees

MAC 2311Analytic Geometry and Calculus 14
MAC 2312Analytic Geometry and Calculus 24
MAC 2313Analytic Geometry and Calculus 34
PHY 2048
2048L
Physics with Calculus 1
and Laboratory for Physics with Calculus 1
4
PHY 2049
2049L
Physics with Calculus 2
and Laboratory for Physics with Calculus 2
4
AST 3018Astronomy and Astrophysics 13
AST 3019Astronomy and Astrophysics 23
AST 3722CTechniques of Observational Astronomy 13
Total Credits29

Recommended Coursework for Graduate Study

Students should talk with the undergraduate coordinator and plan to take:

PHY 4604Introductory Quantum Mechanics 13
Select additional courses:
Computer Programming for Engineers
Functions of a Complex Variable
Computational Linear Algebra
Thermal Physics 1
Optics 1
Statistical Physics
Engineering Statistics

Students of exceptional ability who have some background in physics are encouraged to take the enriched physics with calculus sequence PHY 2060/PHY 2061 instead of PHY 2048/PHY 2049; PHY 3063 may then be taken in place of PHY 3101; and PHZ 3113 may be substituted for PHY 3221.

Relevant Minors and/or Certificates

UFTeach Program

More Info

There is a severe shortage of qualified secondary science teachers in Florida and nationwide. Students interested in becoming part of this high-demand profession should see the undergraduate coordinator about the UFTeach program. UFTeach students can complete the UFTeach minor in science teaching along with their B.A. in astronomy and have the coursework and preparation for professional teacher certification in Florida when they graduate.

Research

Students pursuing the B.S. in astrophysics are encouraged to engage in research with astronomy faculty by signing up for at least three credits of AST 4911; 3 credits of AST 4911 may count toward the 4000 level requirement; an additional 3 credits of AST 4911 may be applied toward the 4000 level requirement with the approval of the undergraduate coordinator.

Astronomy and astrophysics provide knowledge of basic concepts, theories and observational findings concerning the structure and evolution of planetary systems, stars, stellar systems such as galaxies, and cosmology. Students will learn scientific methodology and its application in specific contexts, the use of observations in testing hypotheses and the limitations of astronomical observations as well as how to critically evaluate them.

The Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy enables students to become familiar with modern physics and to understand mathematics, including calculus. The Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics enables students to understand the basic concepts, theories and experimental findings in modern physics, electricity and magnetism, and mechanics as they apply to astronomy and astrophysics.

Before Graduating Students Must

  • Demonstrate satisfactory (minimum grades of C) performance on a selection of coursework from each of the 4000-level astronomy courses as graded by a faculty committee independent of the instructor and not as part of the course grade.
  • Complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree, as determined by faculty.

Students in the Major Will Learn to

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Content

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy
    Identify, describe and define the fundamentals of astronomy, including the basic concepts, theories and observational results for planetary systems, stars, stellar systems and cosmology.
    Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics
    Identify, describe and define the fundamentals of astrophysics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, modern physics and the basic concepts, theories and observational results for planetary systems, stars, stellar systems and cosmology.
  2. Define and use the techniques of astronomical observation.

Critical Thinking

  1. Critically evaluate results of astronomical research.

Communication

  1. Effectively and clearly communicate ideas and results in speech and in writing in an accepted style of presentation.

Curriculum Map: B.A. and B.S.

I = Introduced; R = Reinforced; A = Assessed

Courses SLO 1 SLO 2 SLO 3 SLO 4
AST 3018 I I I
AST 3019 I I I
AST 3722C I, R I, A R R
AST 4211 R, A R R
AST 4402 R, A R R
AST 4723C R, A R, A R R
AST 4930 (Planetary System Astrophysics) R, A R R
AST 4930 (Senior Seminar) A A

Assessment Types for Both Degrees

  • Exams
  • Portfolios
  • Papers
  • Oral presentations