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Undergraduate Studies

The Astronomy Major

Actually, there are two astronomy majors. One, which historically was first, is the Bachelor of Science. It was started when the Department of Astronomy was established at UF in 1979. It's designed to be a solid preparatory course of study for graduate school in astronomy or astrophysics. However, as even a brief glance shows, the BS is well suited for physics also. It could also serve as a basis for graduate work in planetary science. Students whose love for astronomy extends so far as to make it their life's work will find the BS a firm foundation for that enterprise.

The second astronomy major is the Bachelor of Arts, which is newer (2006). It's also for students who are passionate about astronomy but is especially for those who have other vocations in mind. The BA requires a little less mathematics than the BS and a lot less physics. Cutting those back gives the student more flexibility in choosing courses, making it easier to fit in preprofessional courses in education, business, or medicine. Or, if the student is simply looking for a liberal degree, she or he can instead take a broad range of courses in the sciences and/or humanities. Of course one can always take more astronomy courses than are required!

Both majors are for those who are comfortable with, and have some aptitude for, physics and mathematics. They both should develop the student's analytical reasoning skills as well as expand his or her knowledge about the Universe we live in.

The Astronomy Minor

The astronomy minor comprises 15 credits of coursework that afford the student an opportunity to get a taste of what the science of astronomy is about. The first part consists of three introductory courses in basic theoretical and observational astronomy and astrophysics, the same ones that are required of the astronomy majors. These have calculus and physics with calculus as prerequisites or corequisites. The final two courses in astronomy for the minor can be any two upper-division courses.


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