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The Undergraduate Minors in Astronomy


There are two minors offered by the Dept. of Astronomy from which an undergraduate student may choose: Astronomy or Astronomical Studies.

Units used to satisfy either minor must achieve a GPA of 2.0 or above. At least 3 units of course work must be University Credit.

For more information, to enroll in either minor, or to request course substitutions, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Fleming (office: SO 209) at 621-5049.

I. Astronomy

The Minor in Astronomy is intended for students majoring in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, or computer sciences seeking a solid, physics-based introduction to astronomy and astrophysics. The Minor in Astronomy requires at least 20 units of astronomy/physics courses. Nine (9) units must be at upper division (300-level or above.)

The following courses are required:
Course Number Title
PHYS 161H or 141 Introductory Mechanics (4 units)
PHYS 162H or 142 Introductory Optics & Thermodynamics (4 units)
ASTR 250 Fundamentals of Astronomy (3 units)

Three courses should be selected from the following list:
Course Number Title
ASTR 300A Astronomy & Astrophysics (3 units)
ASTR 300B Astronomy & Astrophysics (3 units)
ASTR 302 Introduction to Observational Astronomy (3 units)
ASTR 305 Computational Physics (3 units)
ASTR 320 Philosophy and History of Astronomical Thought (3 units)
ASTR 392 Directed Research [graded, only 3 units may apply]
ASTR 400A Theoretical Astrophysics (3 units)
ASTR 400B Theoretical Astrophysics (3 units)
ASTR 406 The Nature and Origins of Life (3 units)
ASTR 418 Instrumentation and Statistics (3 units)
ASTR 442 Mars (3 units)
ASTR 450 Origin of the Solar System and Other Planetary Systems (3 units)
ASTR 475 Planetary Astrobiology (3 units)
ASTR 485 Radio Astronomy (3 units)
ASTR 488A Astrochemistry (3 units)


II. Astronomical Studies

The Minor in Astronomical Studies is intended for undergraduate students in any field who wish to complement their major concentration with a sustained study of astronomical concepts, history, and methodology. Unilke the Minor in Astronomy, it does not assume or require experience with physics and advanced mathematics. The Minor in Astronomical Studies may be added to any type of baccalaureate degree or major (e.g. B.A., B.F.A., B.S., etc.).

The Minor in Astronomical Studies requires 18 units of astronomy-related courses. At least 9 units must be taken at upper division.  The courses listed below are all worth 3 units and can be used for this minor:

Lower Division:
Course Number Title Course Number Title
ASTR 201 Cosmology PTYS 206 Exploring Our Solar System
ASTR 202* Life in the Universe PTYS 214* Astrobiology: A Planetary Perspective
ASTR 203 Stars OPTI 200 Light, Color, and Vision [3 units only]
ASTR 204 Great Debates in Astronomy    

*Due to significant content overlap, a student cannot receive credit for taking both courses.

Upper Division:
Course Number Title
ASTR 302§ Introduction to Observational Astronomy
ASTR 320 Philosophy and History of Astronomical Thought
ASTR 325 Science and Science Fiction
ASTR 333 Astronomy and the Arts
ASTR 392 Directed Research [graded, only 3 units may apply]
PHIL 305 Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

§requires computing experience; must obtain permission of the instructor to register

OPTI 200 is a repeatable course. Only 3 units of this course may be applied to the minor.

The ASTR 392 course will be used in a flexible way to provide several types of opportunity for students in Astronomical Studies. For example, it can be structured as a practicum on observing using the small telescopes that Steward Observatory maintains on Mt. Lemmon. It can also be a hands-on experience in Citizen Science, Space Grant, or astronomy pedagogy in conjunction with the Center for Astronomy Education, located in the Department of Astronomy.



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.