What Can I Do With A Major In Astronomy?

Astronomy is sometimes considered a field within physics. Astronomers use the principles of physics and mathematics to learn about the fundamental nature of the universe to include the sun, moon, planets, stars, and galaxies. They apply their knowledge to solve problems in navigation, space flight, satellite communications, and to develop the instrumentation and techniques used to observe and collect astronomical data. Astronomy majors possess skills applicable to numerous work settings. The Ph.D. is generally required for placement in professional astronomy positions. However, astronomy majors may be found in such diverse settings as research, education, government, and industry.

Is This Major For You?

You might like this major if you also like: observing the changing patterns in the sky; news about space exploration and technology; science museums; computers; taking things apart and putting them back together to see how they work

Consider this major if you are good at: attention to detail; creativity; critical reading/thinking; math; quantitative analysis; research; spatial thinking/analysis

Employment Settings

  • Colleges and universities
  • National observatories and research centers
  • Government agencies
  • Private industry or consulting firms
  • Museums and planetariums
  • Public relations and journalism

Sample Occupations

  • Astronomer
  • Astrophysicist
  • NASA Engineer/Scientist
  • Climatologist
  • Defense Planner
  • Physicist
  • Science Writer
  • Spacecraft Designer/Operator
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Photographer
  • Telescope Operator
  • Computer Software Writer

Academic Assistance Center Resources

Careers in Science
Careers for Scientific Types and Others with Inquiring Minds
Career Opportunities in Science

Typical Courses In This Major

  • Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology
  • Observational Astronomy
  • Calculus
  • Quantum and Atomic Physics
  • Mechanics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • Astrophysical Techniques
  • Life in the Universe

Other Majors You Might Like

  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Astrophysics

Websites To Visit

American Astronomical Society

American Institute of Physics

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Physicists/Astronomers

For more information on this and other majors, visit the Transfer and Career Planning Office located in the Academic Assistance Center, RBAC 164, ext. 2132.

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