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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.

Astronomy/Astrophysics concentration

Explore your interests in the universe by choosing the astronomy/astrophysics concentration of our bachelor's degree program. You'll learn the observational and analytical methods astronomers use to study the cosmos, as well as the physics behind celestial phenomena.

Establish the physics background you'll need to enter a variety of interdisciplinary fields. For the minor, you'll complete 20 credits.

Tia Martineau
Tia Martineau '18

Researching theoretical cosmologies & dark matter.

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

Career placements

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

UMassD advantages

  • Experience: participate in internship programs to gain valuable experience with regional industries, often while also earning money for college
  • Community: join organizations such as the Physics Club, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders
  • New initiatives: collaborate, create, and explore at our IDEAStudio and the Center for Scientific Computing and Visualization Research
  • Capstone projects: students work on capstone projects, engaging with faculty members on a reseach topics
  • Honors College: take advanced courses, pursue research, and be part of a community of scholars
  • Study Abroad: earn academic credits and gain a global perspective on your field
  • Undergraduate Research: faculty work with students on cutting-edge research projects
  • University Studies: gain the benefit of a broad university education to enhance your knowledge and skills