Courses & Requirements

Requirements for the Astrophysics Major

Required Courses

AST-120: The Solar System/Lab (4.00)

A survey of the solar system, including the planets, minor bodies and the sun. An overview of orbital motion, the properties of light and fundamentals of astronomical instrumentation. Includes a required laboratory component in which students learn introductory observational methods, including telescope alignment and calibration and visual, photographic and CCD observations of the Sun, the Moon, planets and stars. Course requires basic mathematical skills, including ratios, exponents, and simple algebra and trigonometry. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

AST-121: Galaxies & Cosmology (4.00)

This course introduces the field of astronomy beyond our solar system, with close attention to the contributions of international women astronomers in advancing the field. Students will consider the development of scientific ideas that cross national borders and global efforts in the advancement of astronomical science, including connections between astronomers to form international observatory consortia, to plan and construct spacecraft that explore the universe, and to collaborate in scientific projects large and small. In addition to employing fundamental equations that relate astronomical quantities to describe the behavior of stars, nebulae, galaxies, and the evolution of the universe, topical projects will allow students to investigate the professional development and recognition of women astronomers, actions and initiatives of global scientific organizations such as the International Astronomical Union (IAU), or other global systems that foster or inhibit astronomical discoveries.

Course requisites: If you are an ASTROPHYS major/minor, you are encouraged to take AST-200L along with AST-121, but this is NOT REQ'D.

AST-200L: Intermediate Observational Techniques (2.00)

A laboratory experience in which students learn intermediate observational methods of radio and optical astronomy. Use of computer-controlled optical and radio telescopes, electronic (CCD) imaging and photometry. Students also learn to operate the Zeiss ZKP3 planetarium projector.

Course requisites: AST-120 with lab

AST-300: Astrophysics I: Radiation (4.00)

The application of physics to the study of astronomical radiation. Topics include multiwavelength astronomical telescopes and instruments, stellar and planetary radiation transfer, stellar evolution, the interstellar medium, the intergalactic medium, magnetic fields and cosmology.

Course requisites: Physics 203

AST-301: Astrophysics II: Dynamics (4.00)

The application of physics to the study of astronomical structures and motions. Topics include dynamics from planetary to galactic scales, distance determination, galaxy evolution, mass distributions, large-scale structure and cosmology.

Course requisites: PHY-203 (or as taken under old # PHY-111)

PHY-131: Introduction to Computer Programming (4.00)

This introduction to computer science, developed by Google and their academic computer science partners, emphasizes problem solving and data analysis skills along with computer programming skills. Using Python, you will learn design, implementation, testing, and analysis of algorithms and programs. And within the context of programming, you will learn to formulate problems, think creatively about solutions, and express those solutions clearly and accurately. Problems will be chosen from real-world examples such as graphics, image processing, cryptography, data analysis, astronomy, video games, and environmental simulation. You'll get instruction from a World-class computer science professor, delivered remotely through video and interactive media. Then you will attend class for collaborative team projects to solve real-life problems, similar to those a team at Google might face. Prior programming experience is not a requirement for this course. Cross-listed with MAT-131.

PHY-202: Intro Physics I/Lab: Mechanics (4.00)

A calculus-based course with laboratory covering Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and other classical physics topics. Credit cannot be received for both PHY-102 and 202. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: Prereq MAT-118; Pre- or coreq MAT-119 Corequisite MAT-119

PHY-203: Intro Phys II/Lab: Electricity and Magnetism (4.00)

A calculus-based course with laboratory covering Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and other classical physics topics. Credit cannot be received for both PHY-102 and PHY 202. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: PHY-202 (grade C- or higher) and MAT-119

PHY-210: Modern Physics (4.00)

One-semester introduction to the fundamentals of modern physics with integrated modern physics laboratory. Students perform simulations and experiments important to the development of modern physics and are introduced to modern experimental techniques. Topics include: relativity, atomic physics, wave phenomena, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, and particle physics. Course provides a broad base of understanding of modern physics for use in upper-level physics and astronomy courses.

Course requisites: PHY-203 w/ grade C- or higher Req'd pre- or corequisite MAT-220

MAT-220: Multivariable Calculus (4.00)

MULTIVARIABLE CALCULUS--The geometry of curves and surfaces and the calculus of functions of two or more variables, including partial differentiation, multiple integrals, and vector analysis.

Course requisites: 119 with a minimum grade of C-

Math/Research Requirement

Students must complete at least one math course (excluding MAT-101, 104, 117, 118, or 119) and 4 credits of 400-level work.  This could include research, internships, independent study, PHY-401 or PHY-420.

PHY-401: Problem-Solving in Physics (1.00)

An additional course for students seeking greater depth in physics problem-solving. Students will identify specific areas of physics for development or enrichment and will work together to solve a variety of physics problems. May be repeated for credit.

Course requisites: PHY-210

PHY-420: Advanced Seminar in Physics (2.00)

A capstone experience for astrophysics and physics majors. Topics will include use of online and other research resources, research methods and the ethics of scientific research. Students in the class will report regularly on their research experiences, or if they are not actively engaged in a research project with a faculty member on recent advances as reported in the scientific literature. Cross-listed with AST-400.

Course requisites: Req'd corequisite PHY-400

Additional Courses

Students must complete at least 12 additional credits in physics and at least 2 courses must come from the "Core" Category.

Core Category

PHY-321: Classical Mechanics (4.00)

Newton's system for describing and predicting motion, the formulations of Lagrange and Hamilton, central forces, oscillations, chaos, rigid bodies, accelerated reference frames, relativity, continua, and waves.

Course requisites: PHY-203 (or taken under old # PHY-111)

PHY-331: Thermal Physics (4.00)

Equilibrium thermodynamics, statistical methods, quantum methods in thermal physics, discussion of thermal phenomena such as phase transitions, superconductivity, superfluidity, magnetism and applications in chemistry, engineering, and astrophysics.

Course requisites: PHY-203 (or taken under old # PHY-111)

PHY-341: Electromagnetism (4.00)

Maxwell's equations applied to static and to dynamic situations, production and propagation of electromagnetic radiation.

Course requisites: PHY-111 or 203 (# change from 111 to 203 in 2015) Pre- or co-requisite MAT-220

Requirements for the Astrophysics Minor

Courses

AST-120: The Solar System/Lab (4.00)

A survey of the solar system, including the planets, minor bodies and the sun. An overview of orbital motion, the properties of light and fundamentals of astronomical instrumentation. Includes a required laboratory component in which students learn introductory observational methods, including telescope alignment and calibration and visual, photographic and CCD observations of the Sun, the Moon, planets and stars. Course requires basic mathematical skills, including ratios, exponents, and simple algebra and trigonometry. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

AST-121: Galaxies & Cosmology (4.00)

This course introduces the field of astronomy beyond our solar system, with close attention to the contributions of international women astronomers in advancing the field. Students will consider the development of scientific ideas that cross national borders and global efforts in the advancement of astronomical science, including connections between astronomers to form international observatory consortia, to plan and construct spacecraft that explore the universe, and to collaborate in scientific projects large and small. In addition to employing fundamental equations that relate astronomical quantities to describe the behavior of stars, nebulae, galaxies, and the evolution of the universe, topical projects will allow students to investigate the professional development and recognition of women astronomers, actions and initiatives of global scientific organizations such as the International Astronomical Union (IAU), or other global systems that foster or inhibit astronomical discoveries.

Course requisites: If you are an ASTROPHYS major/minor, you are encouraged to take AST-200L along with AST-121, but this is NOT REQ'D.

AST-200L: Intermediate Observational Techniques (2.00)

A laboratory experience in which students learn intermediate observational methods of radio and optical astronomy. Use of computer-controlled optical and radio telescopes, electronic (CCD) imaging and photometry. Students also learn to operate the Zeiss ZKP3 planetarium projector.

Course requisites: AST-120 with lab

PHY-131: Introduction to Computer Programming (4.00)

This introduction to computer science, developed by Google and their academic computer science partners, emphasizes problem solving and data analysis skills along with computer programming skills. Using Python, you will learn design, implementation, testing, and analysis of algorithms and programs. And within the context of programming, you will learn to formulate problems, think creatively about solutions, and express those solutions clearly and accurately. Problems will be chosen from real-world examples such as graphics, image processing, cryptography, data analysis, astronomy, video games, and environmental simulation. You'll get instruction from a World-class computer science professor, delivered remotely through video and interactive media. Then you will attend class for collaborative team projects to solve real-life problems, similar to those a team at Google might face. Prior programming experience is not a requirement for this course. Cross-listed with MAT-131.

PHY-202: Intro Physics I/Lab: Mechanics (4.00)

A calculus-based course with laboratory covering Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and other classical physics topics. Credit cannot be received for both PHY-102 and 202. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: Prereq MAT-118; Pre- or coreq MAT-119 Corequisite MAT-119

PHY-203: Intro Phys II/Lab: Electricity and Magnetism (4.00)

A calculus-based course with laboratory covering Newtonian mechanics, oscillations, and other classical physics topics. Credit cannot be received for both PHY-102 and PHY 202. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: PHY-202 (grade C- or higher) and MAT-119

PHY-210: Modern Physics (4.00)

One-semester introduction to the fundamentals of modern physics with integrated modern physics laboratory. Students perform simulations and experiments important to the development of modern physics and are introduced to modern experimental techniques. Topics include: relativity, atomic physics, wave phenomena, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, and particle physics. Course provides a broad base of understanding of modern physics for use in upper-level physics and astronomy courses.

Course requisites: PHY-203 w/ grade C- or higher Req'd pre- or corequisite MAT-220

Back to top