The Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics is designed to be a solid preparatory course of study for graduate school in astronomy, astrophysics and related fields. The curriculum combines studies in astronomy and astrophysics with a strong foundation in physics and mathematics. The B.S. degree track requires a coursework of 62 credits hours focusing in mathematics, physics, and astronomy. It entails taking a variety of upper-level astronomy and physics courses. Beyond what is listed below, additional advanced courses in mathematics and computer science are suggested but not required. The courses that are required of B.S. degree are:
- MAC 2311 – Calculus 1
- MAC 2312 – Calculus 2
- MAC 2313 – Calculus 3
- MAP 2302 – Elementary Differential Equations
- PHY 2048 – General Physics with Calculus 1
- PHY 2048L – General Physics Lab 1
- PHY 2049 – General Physics with Calculus 2
- PHY 2049L – General Physics Lab 2
- PHY 3101 – Introduction to Modern Physics
- PHY 3221 – Classical Mechanics 1
- PHY 4222 – Classical Mechanics 2
- PHY 3323 – Electricity and Magnetism 1
- PHY 4324 – Electricity and Magnetism 2
- One elective Physics course:
- PHY 3513 – Thermal Physics
- PHY 4422 – Optics
- PHY 4523 – Statistical Mechanics
- PHY 4604 – Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
- AST 3018 – Astronomy and Astrophysics 1
- AST 3019 – Astronomy and Astrophysics 2
- AST 3722C – Observational Techiniques in Astronomy 1
- Four 4000-level AST courses
Students wishing to strengthen their analytical skills, it is recommended to take either STA 2023-3024, Introduction to Statistics I & II, or STA 3032 Statistics for Engineers and Scientists.
Certain courses listed above may have pre- or corequisites that must be met, the student can check these requisites in the Undergraduate Catalog with the astronomy course descriptions, the physics course descriptions, or the mathematics course descriptions.
Some substitutions are routinely permitted or even encouraged. Students who are qualified to take the Honors accelerated general physics courses PHY 2060 and 2061 should do so. To find out if you’re qualified, please discuss your background with either the Undergraduate Coordinator in Physics or the Undergraduate Coordinator in Astronomy. PHY 3063, Enriched Modern Physics, may be taken instead of PHY 3101. Also, PHZ 3113, Introduction to Theoretical Physics, may be substituted for PHY 3221 on a case-by-case basis.
There’s a very high degree of overlap between the Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics and the span class=”bold”>Bachelor of Arts in Physics/span> at UF. It is common for astronomy students to double major with either the physics B.A. or the B.S degree. In that case, the student will need to take the general chemistry courses CHM 2045 and 2046 and the lab CHM2045L together with a few other courses depending on whether the B.A. or B.S. is sought. For advising on the physics major, the student should consult Dr. Amlan Biswas or one of the other physics advisors.
The order in which the required courses are taken depends partly on the prerequisites and partly on when the various courses are offered. Some information about course offerings and scheduling may be found at the Undergraduate Courses page. A suggested semester plan for the B.S. degree can be found at the astronomy major section of the Undergraduate Catalog. The plan is not rigid; the only absolute requirement is that the student must satisfy the critical tracking criteria for each semester listed right above the semester plan. The “generic” designations such as GE-H, which stands for General Education — Humanities, can be freely switched around among themselves.
Recommended coursework for Graduate Studies
Students aiming to pursue graduate studies should consider taking PHY 4604, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics; programming courses; MAA4402, Functions of a Complex Variable; MAS 3114 Computational Linear Algebra; PHY 3513, Thermal Physics; PHY 4424 Optics 1; PHY 4523 Statistical Physics; and STA 3032 Engineering Statistics.
It’s highly recommended that students acquire some research experience before they enter graduate school. To do this, they can take three (up to nine) credits of AST 4911, Individual Work, with one of the faculty. The course involves working on a one-on-one basis with the faculty member, and/or a graduate student supervised by the faculty member. Another way of gaining research experience is participating in one of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs around the US. The following have comprehensive lists for programs in the astronomy and astrophysics field as well as other science related fields.
- National Science Foundation REU
- NASA Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
- The Physics Nucleus: Opportunities in Physics and Astronomy
- UF Deparment of Physics REU program
- UF undegraduate research opportunities database. You can call the Honors Office at (352) 392–1519 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Ideally, one should not start research until you have had AST 3018 and 3019, and some of these programs require a junior or senior standing.