The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy program gives students the tools and the knowledge they need to reach for the stars. Working in the Campus Observatory Complex, an exceptional environment that takes advantage of Prescott’s high altitude and clear skies, students get to master astrophysics, quantum mechanics and more through hands-on experiences with the instruments that unlock the secrets of the skies. 

Bachelor of Science in
Astronomy

Students look to the skies at the Embry-Riddle Prescott Observatory Complex.

The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy program gives students the tools and the knowledge they need to reach for the stars. Working in the Campus Observatory Complex, an exceptional environment that takes advantage of Prescott’s high altitude and clear skies, students get to master astrophysics, quantum mechanics and more through hands-on experiences with the instruments that unlock the secrets of the skies.

Students also have access to the Hubble Space Telescope and research programs at NASA and the National Science Foundation. 

While most astronomers hold advanced degrees, there are astronomy careers that do not require graduate study, including spaced-based and ground-based observatory technician and operators, astronomical instrumentation development, commercial and military satellite operations, secondary education, science journalism, and financial analysis.

The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy degree is housed in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

View Degree Requirements
Excerpt taken from the Online Course Catalog

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy is a 120-credit hour program that can be completed in eight semesters. The list of courses below comprises the complete requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Astronomy. The list is organized as a “vertical outline” according to the year and semester in which the courses would normally be taken. While it is not a requirement that the courses be taken during the year shown, students should be aware that several courses in each academic year may have prerequisites and/or corequisites. Therefore, it is recommended that students keep their schedule as close as possible to the one shown below. Before registering for a course, check the course descriptions to ensure that all prerequisites and/or corequisites are met. Note that prerequisites for a course are only considered met if the student obtained a grade of “C” or better in the prerequisite courses.

Students may not pursue both an Astronomy B.S. degree and a Space Physics B.S. degree. However, also note that the degree requirements for the first three semesters of both degree programs can be satisfied with the same courses. Thus, a student who is making appropriate progress in either the Astronomy or Space Physics degree programs can switch to the other program after the third semester with a complete transfer of credit from one program to the other.

Suggested Program of Study

Freshman Year
FallCredits
  COM Elective * 3
MA 241 Calculus and Analytical Geometry I 4
PS 215 Physics I 3
PS 216 Physics I Laboratory 1
CHM 105 General Chemistry I 4
CHM 105L General Chemistry I Laboratory 0
UNIV 101 College Success 1
  Credits Subtotal 16
Spring 
MA 242 Calculus and Analytical Geometry II 4
PS 204 General Astronomy 3
PS 208 Physics II 3
PS 221 Intermediate Physics Laboratory 2
  SS Lower-Level Elective * 3
  Credits Subtotal 15
Sophomore Year
Fall 
  COM Elective * 3
MA 243 Calculus and Analytical Geometry III 4
PS 219 Physics III 3
PS 222 Intermediate Astronomy 3
PS 232 Computational Methods in the Physical Sciences 3
  Credits Subtotal 16
Spring 
MA 335 Introduction to Linear and Abstract Algebra 3
MA 345 Differential Equations and Matrix Methods 4
PS 271 Techniques of Observational Astronomy 3
PS 303 Modern Physics 3
PS 315 Modern Physics Laboratory 2
  Credits Subtotal 15
Junior Year
Fall 
  COM Elective* 3
MA 441 Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Physics I 3
PS 330 Electricity and Magnetism I 3
PS 340 Astrophysics I 3
  Technical elective 3
  Credits Subtotal 15
Spring 
PS 408 Astrophysics II 3
  HU Lower-Level Course 3
  SS Upper-Level Elective * 3
  Open Elective 3
  Technical Elective 3
  Credits Subtotal 15
Senior Year
Fall 
PS 321 Classical Mechanics I 3
PS 490 Senior Research Thesis, Part I 3
  HU Upper-level Elective 3
  Open Elective 4
  Technical Elective 3
  Credits Subtotal 16
Spring 
PS 350 Quantum Mechanics I 3
PS 380 Optics Laboratory 3
PS 491 Senior Research Thesis, Part II 3
  Open Elective 3
  Credits Subtotal 12
  Credits Total 120
*

Embry-Riddle courses in the general education categories of Communication, Humanities, and Social Sciences may be chose from the list below, assuming prerequisites are met. Courses from other institutions are acceptable it they fall into these broad categories and are at the approximate level.

   
Communications Electives  
COM 122 English Composition 3
COM 219 Speech 3
COM 221 Technical Report Writing 3
COM 222 Business Communication 3
COM 225 Science and Technology Communication 3
or any COM 3XX or COM 4XX course 3
Lower-Level Social Science Electives  
EC 210 Microeconomics 3
EC 211 Macroeconomics 3
Any Lower-Level SS, RS, or SIS course 3
Lower-Level Humanities Electives  
Any HU 140 Series Course 3
Upper-Level Humanities Electives  
Any Upper-Level HU Course  
Upper-Level Social Science Electives  
Any Upper-Level SS Course  
Technical Electives  
PS 322 Classical Mechanics II 3
PS 331 Electricity and Magnetism II 3
PS 405 Atomic Nuclear Physics 3
PS 412 Particle Physics and Cosmology 3
PS 413 Particle Physics and Cosmology II 3
PS 420 Remote Sensing 3
PS 422 Space Propulsion 3
PS 451 Quantum Mechanics II 3
PS 299 Special Topics in Physical Science 1-4
or PS 399 Special Topic in Physical Science
or PS 499 Special Topic in Physical Science
MA 412 Probability and Statistics 3
MA 443 Complex Variables 3
MA 299 Special Topics in Mathematics 1-4
or MA 399 Special Topics in Mathematics
or MA 499 Special Topics in Mathematics
Any other upper-division technical course with approval of the Astronomy Department  
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Go to the Online Course catalog

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