Students considering a major in astronomy should confer early with a departmental representative about the selection of courses. The B.A. degree is appropriate for students who want a general education in astronomy as part of a broadly structured liberal education. The B.S. is a more specialized program with a substantial emphasis on physics content as well as astronomy. It provides preparation for a professional career or graduate work in astronomy, astrophysics, or related fields. A total of 120 credit hours is required for graduation.
First- and Second-Year Preparation
All major programs in physics and astronomy share requirements in basic physics and mathematics including PHSX 150, a seminar course for majors. Completion of MATH 121 and MATH 122 in the first year allows students to start calculus-based physics foundation courses (PHSX 211 or PHSX 213, followed by PHSX 212 or PHSX 214, with labs PHSX 216 and PHSX 236) by the second semester. Majors are encouraged to take PHSX 213 and PHSX 214, the honors versions of PHSX 211 and PHSX 212. Students should take these courses and ASTR 391 in their first two years. B.S. astronomy majors normally complete additional course work in mathematics (MATH 223, MATH 290, and MATH 320), as well as PHSX 313 and PHSX 316, in the second year.
Requirements for the B.A. Major in Astronomy
In addition to general education requirements for B.A. degrees in the College, 39.5 hours of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and chemistry are required.
Astronomy Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge. Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. Majors are advised to take honors courses when eligible. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.
- Calculus I. Satisfied by MATH 121 or MATH 141 (or equivalent).
- Calculus II. Satisfied by MATH 122 or MATH 142 (or equivalent)
- Seminar in Physics, Astronomy, & Engineering Physics. Satisfied by PHSX 150
- General Physics I. Satisfied by PHSX 211 and PHSX 216 or PHSX 213
- General Physics II. Satisfied by PHSX 212 and PHSX 236 or PHSX 214
- Foundations of Chemistry I. Satisfied by CHEM 130 or CHEM 190.
Astronomy Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete a course in each of the 5 following areas:
- Introductory Astronomy Laboratory or Observational Astrophysics. Satisfied by ASTR 196 or ASTR 596.
- Physical Astronomy, Honors. Satisfied by ASTR 391.
- Undergraduate Problems. Satisfied by ASTR 390.
- Stellar Astronomy. Satisfied by ASTR 591.
- Galactic & Extragalactic Astronomy. Satisfied by ASTR 592.
Major Hours & Major GPA
While completing all required courses (above), majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.
Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.
Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.
Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.