The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics offers many options for undergraduates to explore the universe through interdisciplinary study that emphasizes mastery of the intellectual processes of inquiry and discovery. In general education courses and our academic programs, students develop a profound understanding of the processes of the scientific method that enable them to identify unanswered questions, analyze problems, and pursue research confidently.
Students in the Major in Astrophysics program acquire a broad knowledge of the universal, physical laws spanning scales from the nuclear to cosmological, develop skills in computational methods and statistical data analysis, and gain experience with experimental and observational techniques through participation in faculty-led research projects. Courses highlight the essential relationships among the Physical Sciences and state-of-the-art research methods to enhance students’ research and analytical skills. The major program offers both a BA and BS option.
Students who are not majoring in the sciences can explore the physical principles and observable properties of astronomical phenomena to satisfy their general education requirements in course sequences that examine the grand principles governing the Universe and understanding its beginning, to the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies, and the search for habitable extrasolar planets.
The Minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics was designed for students not majoring in the sciences to cultivate understanding of science as a human endeavor across multiple social, historical, and cultural contexts, and to develop comprehension of the quantitative reasoning that supports a deep conceptual understanding of science.
Each Spring the University of Chicago Center in Paris hosts students as they complete a course sequence that can be taken to satisfy the general education requirement or as part of the Minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics program.