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  • Astronomy

    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 consider majoring in astronomy.

    About This Major

    Overview

    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 Science (B.S.) in astronomy is 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.

    The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in astronomy is 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 and teaching.

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    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. 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

    • Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, 2, 3 (MAC 2311, MAC 2312 and MAC 2313, 12 credits)
    • Physics with Calculus 1 and 2 with labs (PHY 2048/2048L and PHY 2049/2049L, 8 credits)
    • Astronomy and Astrophysics 1 and 2 (AST 3018 and 3019, 6 credits)
    • Techniques of Observational Astronomy (AST 3722C, 3 credits)

    Additional required coursework for the B.A.:

    • Two astronomy courses at the 3000/4000 level (6 credits)
    • Two additional courses (6 credits minimum) from:
      • AST or PHY courses at the 3000/4000 level
      • AST 2003 Introduction to the Solar System, AST 2037 Life in the Universe,
        GLY 2010C Physical Geology, GLY 2042 Planetary Geology, GLY 3105C Evolution of Earth and Life, MCB 3703 Astrobiology, PHY 2464 Physical Basis of Music, PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics, PHZ 4710 Introduction to Biophysics or SWS 2007 World of Water

    Additional required coursework for the B.S.:

    • Four 3-credit AST courses at the 4000 level (12 credits; prerequisites: AST 3018 and AST 3019)
    • Differential Equations (MAP 2302, 3 credits)
    • Modern Physics (PHY 3101, 3 credits)
    • Mechanics 1 and 2 (PHY 3221 and 4222, 6 credits)
    • Electromagnetism 1 and 2 (PHY 3323 and 4324, 6 credits)
    • Choose one course from PHY 3513 Thermal Physics, PHY 4424 Optics 1, PHY 4523 Statistical Physics or PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1 (3 credits)
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    Recommended Coursework for Graduate Study

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

    • PHY 4604 and
    • Additional courses from COP 2271 Computer Programming for Engineers, MAA 4402 Functions of a Complex Variable, MAS 3114 Computational Linear Algebra, PHY 3513 Thermal Physics, PHY 4424 Optics 1, PHY 4523 Statistical Physics and STA 3032 Engineering Statistics

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

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    Relevant Minors and/or Certificates

    UFTeach Program: 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.

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    Research

    Students pursuing the B.S. are encouraged to engage in research with astronomy faculty by signing up for at least three credits of AST 4911; with the approval of the undergraduate coordinator, up to six credits may be counted toward the required 4000-level courses.

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    Critical Tracking

    To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college and major requirements. For degree requirements outside of the major, refer to CLAS Degree Requirements: Structure of a CLAS Degree.

    Equivalent critical-tracking courses as determined by the State of Florida Common Course Prerequisites may be used for transfer students.

    Critical-tracking requirements are for both the B.S. and B.A. degrees. All students must meet these criteria to remain on track for the major.

    Semester 1

    • Complete MAC 1147 or MAC 2311
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 2

    • Complete MAC 2311
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 3

    • Complete MAC 2312, PHY 2048 and PHY 2048L with a 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    Semester 4

    • Complete MAC 2313, PHY 2049 and PHY 2049L with 2.5 GPA required for all critical-tracking courses
    • 2.0 UF GPA required

    UF freshmen and sophomores should take AST 3018 by semester 4

    Semester 5

    • 2.5 critical-tracking GPA with completion of AST 3018
    • 2.0 UF GPA required
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    Bachelor of Arts

    Recommended Semester Plan

    Students are expected to complete the writing requirement while in the process of taking the courses below. Students are also expected to complete the general education international (GE-N) and diversity (GE-D) requirements concurrently with another general education requirement (typically, GE-C, H or S).

    Semester 1 Credits
    IUF 1000 What is the Good Life (GE-H) 3
    MAC 2311 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 (State Core GE-M) 4
    ​Biological Sciences (GE-B) 3​
    Composition (State Core GE-C) (WR) 3
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (State Core GE-S) 3
    Total 16
    Semester 2 Credits
    MAC 2312 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2 4
    PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 (GE-P) 3
    PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory (GE-P) 1
    ​Biological Science (GE-B) 3​​
    Humanities (State Core GE-H) 3
    Total 14
    Semester 3 Credits
    AST 3018 Astronomy and Astrophysics 1 3
    MAC 2313 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3 4
    PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 (GE-P) 3
    PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 Laboratory (GE-P) 1
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) 3
    Total 14
    Semester 4 Credits
    AST 3019 Astronomy and Astrophysics 2 3
    AST 3722C Observational Techniques 1 3
    Elective 3
    Humanities (GE-H) 3
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) 3
    Total 15
    Semester 5 Credits
    AST course, 3000/4000 level 3
    Elective, 3000/4000 level (not in major) 3
    Electives 6
    Foreign language 3-5
    Total 15-17
    Semester 6 Credits
    AST course, 3000/4000 level 3
    Elective 3
    Electives, 3000/4000 level (not in major) 6
    Foreign language 3-5
    Total 15-17
    Semester 7 Credits
    AST or PHY or approved major course 3
    Composition (GE-C, WR) 3
    Elective (or complete foreign language if 4-3-3 option) 3
    Electives 6
    Total 15
    Semester 8 Credits
    AST or PHY or approved major course 3
    Electives 13
    Total 16
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    Bachelor of Science

    Recommended Semester Plan

    Students are expected to complete the writing requirement while in the process of taking the courses below. Students are also expected to complete the general education international (GE-N) and diversity (GE-D) requirements concurrently with another general education requirement (typically, GE-C, H or S).

    Semester 1 Credits
    IUF 1000 What is the Good Life (GE-H) 3
    MAC 2311 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1 () 4
    ​Biological Science (GE-B) 3​​
    Composition (State Core GE-C) 3
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (State Core GE-S) 3
    Total 16
    Semester 2 Credits
    MAC 2312 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2 (GE-M) 4
    PHY 2048 Physics with Calculus 1 (State Core GE-P) 3
    PHY 2048L Physics with Calculus 1 Laboratory (GE-P) 1
    ​Biological Science (GE-B) 3​​
    Humanities (State Core GE-H) 3
    Total 14
    Semester 3 Credits
    AST 3018 Astronomy and Astrophysics 1 (GE-P) 3
    MAC 2313 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3 4
    PHY 2049 Physics with Calculus 2 (GE-P) 3
    PHY 2049L Physics with Calculus 2 Laboratory (GE-P) 1
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) 3
    Total 14
    Semester 4 Credits
    AST 3019 Astronomy and Astrophysics 2 (GE-P) 3
    AST 3722C Techniques of Observational Astronomy 1 3
    MAP 2302 Elementary Differential Equations 3
    Humanities (GE-H) 3
    Social and Behavioral Sciences (GE-S) 3
    Total 15
    Semester 5 Credits
    AST course, 4000 level 3
    PHY 3101 Introduction to Modern Physics 3
    PHY 3221 Mechanics 1 3
    Elective 3
    Foreign language 3-5
    Total 15-17
    Semester 6 Credits
    AST course, 4000 level 3
    PHY 3323 Electromagnetism 1 3
    PHY 4222 Mechanics 2 3
    Elective 3
    Foreign language 3-5​
    Total 15-17
    Semester 7 Credits
    AST course, 4000 level 3
    PHY 3513 Thermal Physics 1 or
    PHY 4424 Optics 1 or
    PHY 4523 Statistical Physics or
    PHY 4604 Introductory Quantum Mechanics 1
    3
    ​PHY 4324 Electromagnetism 2 3​​
    Composition (GE-C, WR) 3
    Elective (or complete foreign language if 4-3-3 option) 3
    Total 15
    Semester 8 Credits
    AST course (4000 level) 3
    Electives 6
    Electives, 3000 level (non-major if needed) 7
    Total 16
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majors: astronomy