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Undergraduate Major in Astronomy


The Astronomy Department offers a B.S. degree in a program which is designed to prepare students for graduate work or professional employment in astronomy, astrophysics and related fields. The curriculum combines courses and research in astronomy and astrophysics with a strong foundation in physics and mathematics. The major requires 36 units of coursework. For typical four-year plans of study, Frequently Asked Questions, the names of Astronomy Advisors, Undergraduate Research, and more, see the links on the right. Most of those plans assume that you start as a Freshman with Math 122 or 125 (ie, "Calculus 1"). If you are starting with Math 100, 111/112, or 120R, please consult with both a Math Advisor and your Astronomy advisor. It will take more than 4 years to complete the B.S. degree if you do not start with Calculus I (or high level math).  If you are starting with Math 129 or above, again, please see your advisor.

Here is a link to the WEEKLY UPDATE NEWSLETTER for the Astronomy and Physics Departments.

One of our graduating seniors (Ms. Grace Hathaway; 2021) spoke about her research, and work/life balance, on radio station KXCI's "Thesis Thursday" (November 26, 2020).

Excellent resources for learning about our Astronomy major are our annual springtime graduation celebrations. Each presentation below provides (1) a Department-wide perspective (people, academics, research, funding, work-life balance), (2) a personal perspective about each graduate, and (3) inspiration from videos and poems created by our students for the graduating class.

In May 2022, our graduating class consisted of 28 majors, 13 minors, and six Ph.D. students. We celebrated their graduation on May 11, both in-person and via Zoom. Here are the associated slides from that presentation.

In May 2021, our virtual graduation ceremony (Zoom video) honored 18 undergraduate majors, eight undergraduate minors, and five Ph.D. graduates. This presentation also contains excellent advice from our distinguished graduation speaker, Dr. Andrea Ghez (Nobel Prize in Physics 2020, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at UCLA).

In May 2020, our virtual graduation ceremony (Zoom video) honored 29 undergraduate majors and 12 minors. Our guest speaker was Dr. George Nelson (solar astronomer, astronaut, Provost, STEM educator).

If you are interested in declaring as an Astronomy major, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Astronomy Associate Professor Brenda Frye  as well as the Senior Academic Advisor Mr. David Smith.

Click on photo for enlarged version. Photo: 2020 Astronomy Club, courtesy David Cantillo.

For the public
For Public

Public events include our Monday Night Lecture Series, world-reknowned Astronomy Camp and Mt Lemmon Sky Center.

For Students

A good place to start if you want to become an undergrad major or grad student, or need to find our schedule of classes.


For Scientists
For Scientists

Find telescopes and instruments, telescope time applications, staff and mountain contacts, and faculty and staff scientific interests.