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 and PHSX 216 or PHSX 213, followed by PHSX 212 and PHSX 236 or PHSX 214) by the second semester. Majors are encouraged to take PHSX 213 and PHSX 214, the honors versions of PHSX 211 and PHSX 216 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.S. Degree in Astronomy
Bachelor of Science in Astronomy Course Requirements
Written Communication - Core Skill and Critical Inquiry
- Composition. Satisfied by ENGL 101, ACT English score of 27 or above or SAT English score of 600 or above, AP English Literature & Composition score of 3 or above, or equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed during initial term of admission at KU.
- Critical Reading and Writing. Satisfied by ENGL 102, or ENGL 105 (Honors), AP English Literature & Composition score of 4 or above, or an equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed within the first academic year at KU.
- Sophomore Reading and Writing II. Satisfied by ENGL 203, or ENGL 205 (Honors), ENGL 209, or ENGL 210 or ENGL 211, or ENGL 362, or AP English Literature & Composition score of 5 or above, or an equivalent.
Western Civilization - Exploration of One's Own and Diverse Cultures. Advising Alert: Requires sophomore-level standing. Courses at other universities may have the same title but may not meet this requirement.
- Western Civilization I - Ancient, Medieval & Early Modern Periods of Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 204 or HWC 114 (Honors).
- Western Civilization II - Modern Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 205 or HWC 115 (Honors).
Humanities - Understanding the Human Condition. Satisfied by completing 2 courses at least 1 in one of the following categories: historical studies (requirement code HT), literature and the arts (requirement code HL), and philosophy and religion (requirement code HR). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.
Social and Behavioral Sciences - Understanding Society and Behavior. Satisfied by completing 2 courses at least 1 in one of the following categories: individual behavior (requirement code SI), culture and society (requirement code SC), or public affairs (requirement code SF). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.
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.
- Computing and Programming. Satisfied by EECS 138 or EECS 168.
- 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.
Advanced Mathematics Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
- Vector Calculus. Satisfied by MATH 223.
- Elementary Linear Algebra. Satisfied by MATH 290.
- Elementary Differential Equations. Satisfied by MATH 320.
- MATH Elective. Satisfied by PHSX 518, PHSX 718, MATH 526, MATH 530, MATH 558, MATH 581, MATH 590, MATH 628, MATH 646, MATH 647, MATH 648, MATH 660, MATH 661, or any 700-level MATH lecture course except MATH 701 and MATH 715.
Astronomy Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
- Physical Astronomy, Honors. Satisfied by ASTR 391.
- Stellar Astronomy. Satisfied by ASTR 591.
- Galactic & Extragalactic Astronomy. Satisfied by ASTR 592.
- Observational Astrophysics. Satisfied by ASTR 596.
- Gravitation and Cosmology. Satisfied by PHSX 693.
- Astrophysics I and II. Satisfied by ASTR 691 and ASTR 692.
- Undergraduate Research. Satisfied by ASTR 503.
Physics Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
- General Physics III. Satisfied by PHSX 313.
- Intermediate Physics Lab. Satisfied by PHSX 316.
- Introductory Quantum Mechanics. Satisfied by PHSX 511.
- Physical Measurements or Electronic Circuit Measurement and Design. Satisfied by PHSX 516 or 536.
- Mechanics I. Satisfied by PHSX 521.
- Electricity and Magnetism. Satisfied by PHSX 531.
- Thermal Physics. Satisfied by PHSX 671.
- Physics Elective. Satisfied by any PHSX lecture or laboratory course numbered 500 or higher including ASTR 795/PHSX 795 Space Plasma Physics and GEOL 572 Geophysics.
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.