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Astronomy / Astrophysics

Concentration in astronomy/astrophysics

The Physics department offers a bachelor's of science degree in physics with a concentration in astronomy and astrophysics.

Explore your interests in the universe, and uncover the mysteries of nature. Probe the far reaches of space and the depths of the ocean, and meet our planet's environmental challenges. You'll learn the observational and analytical methods astronomers use to study the cosmos, as well as the physics behind celestial phenomena.

The powerful array of technical skills you'll acquire as a physics major will prepare you for a career in many areas of theoretical and applied science. You'll be ready to assume leadership roles in industry, business, and government or explore the fields of materials science, biophysics, geophysics, oceanography, and medical physics.

As a physicist, you can investigate the structure of the atom, design and program computers, solve environmental problems, and develop new manufacturing materials. Physicists lead some of the world's major technology companies and research institutes, paving the way for technological innovations such as lasers, solar cells, electric cars, medical diagnostics, and computers.

Our curriculum covers all of the core fields of physics: classical and quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, modern physics and relativity, optics, thermodynamics, and solid state physics.

As a physics major, you will:

  • apply critical thinking, computer, and electronic skills to solve problems
  • develop the mathematical analysis and technical writing skills potential employers are seeking
  • train in advanced laboratory techniques, computer simulation, and numerical modeling

For the BS in physics, you'll complete at least 45 credits in physics courses and a total of 120 credits overall.

Course descriptions, schedules and requirements

Student success

Mckenzie Ferrari '23

During her stellar undergraduate career at UMassD, Mckenzie Ferrari '23 studied exploding stars and simulations that model them. Her research activity resulted in multiple national recognitions and scientific publications – an uncommon feat for an undergraduate student. Mckenzie was also a student-athlete on the Women's Tennis team, and a mentor in the Women in Engineering community. She went on to pursue her PhD at the University of Chicago. 

Internships & research

  • Fermi National Accelerator Lab
  • Harvard Center for Astrophysics
  • Southern Light Solar
  • University of Washington at Seattle

Graduate schools

  • Columbia University
  • University of California Davis
  • Duke University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • The George Washington University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Chicago

Career placements

  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory
  • Naval Underwater Systems
  • Oracle
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Textron Systems

UMassD advantages

International (F-1) students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees may be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion optional practical training (OPT). To learn about the eligibility criteria and detailed steps to apply, please review the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC) OPT page and USCIS resources. F-1 students must consult with the ISSC to apply for STEM OPT.

Expand your opportunities

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