Major: Astronomy

What colleges offer a Major in Astronomy?

When you look up at the night sky, what do you see? There are patterns of stars, planets, the moon, and some sights that you may not be able to explain. Astronomy is the study of those objects in space — how stars, planets, and galaxies form and behave — and the universe itself.

If you want to understand the mysteries of the night sky, this could be the major for you.

Astronomy students study space, the history and future of the universe, and the objects within, such as planets, stars, and galaxies. Subjects of study include the evolution of stars, how the stars and planets move through space, chemistry, and advanced math.

“You have to love astronomy, and you have to love looking up at the sky and be willing to stare at it for a long time, even if you don't see anything.”Jill, junior, astrophysics and physics and philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Are You Ready To...?

  • Attend a university or observatory summer program where you might conduct research with a radio telescope or work with astronomy software
  • Join an astronomy club
  • Use computers to interpret information
  • Attend weekly labs
  • Study advanced physics and math

It Helps To Be...

A fan of math, chemistry, and physics with an eye for detail.

College Checklist

  • What research opportunities will you have?
  • Does the department offer a B.A., B.S., or both?
  • Is the campus or local observatory equipped with the latest technology? Will you have access to the best telescopes?
  • Does the program have a particular focus, such as astrophysics?
  • Does the school have an active astronomy club?

Did You Know?

Astronomers learn about distant galaxies by peering through telescopes that “see” radio waves not visible to the human eye.

Course Spotlight

When you take a class in astrophysics, you’ll learn how astronomers come up with theories and conduct experiments to better understand objects in space. You’ll explore questions like these: Why do stars give off light? Do black holes exist? If so, how will we find and study them? Get ready for a challenge: in astrophysics, you’ll work in the language of math and physics.