Friday, August 13, 2010

Majoring in "Astronomy" at the University of Delaware

Potential students often find the information on astronomy for undergraduates at the University of Delaware confusing so I am writing this post.

Astronomy can be viewed as a branch of physics, and in order to go graduate school in astronomy you certainly need an understanding of physics similar to a physics major. Therefore, you will find that at U.S. colleges various Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees with names like "Astronomy" or "Astronomy and Physics." Our program is called "Physics with a concentration in Astronomy/Astrophysics." Regardless of the name, you'll notice they have more physics classes than astronomy classes and are almost identical to a physics major. There will also be lots of math. This major will prepare you for graduate school in astronomy -- or physics or another science for that matter. The course catalog for our major is here.

We also now have a minor in "Astronomy", just as you can minor in physics. Students majoring in engineering, math, and similar programs may find the astronomy minor suits their needs.

The fact that U.D. information guides list "Astronomy" as a minor but not a "major" is misleading because what could be called an astronomy major is instead called Physics with a concentration in Astronomy/Astrophysics.

If you are interested in this topic please contact me via the information at John Gizis's work webpage.

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