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Master of Science Degree Program

The Master of Science Degree in Astronomy is designed to give students a solid background in astronomy, skills that can be applied in astronomy-related professions and experience in research. 

Degree Requirements

Required Courses Required Hours
Formal Coursework:  
    • ASTR 501, ASTR 502 8
    • Additional formal coursework (excluding thesis research, non-thesis research, and independent study credit hours, e.g., ASTR 599, ASTR 590) 16
        • Of the additional coursework, the minimum number of hours in the unit (excluding thesis research, non-thesis research, and independent study credit hours) 8
        • Of the additional coursework, the minimum number of 500-level hours (excluding thesis research, non-thesis research, and independent study credit hours) 4
        • Based on Placement Exam results, students may be required to complete ASTR 404, 405, 406, and/or 414 during their first year. A maximum of 8 hours of these courses may be applied to the degree. 8 max
Research/Project/Independent Study Hours (e.g., ASTR 590; min/max applied toward degree): 4 min / 8 max
Total Hours 32
Other Requirements:  
    • Minimum GPA 3.0
    • Proficiency in Advanced Undergraduate Astronomy (see below) Yes
    • Language Requirement No
    • Thesis Required No

Demonstrated Proficiency in Advanced Undergraduate Astronomy (ASTR 404, 405, 406, and 414) 

Students must show proficiency in the four courses by one of the following options:

  • Pass the appropriate section of the placement exam (four sections aligned to the four courses), which is offered at the start of every Fall semester.  A student can petition to take the exam once more the following year.  The decision on petition approval by the graduate advisor will depend on the student’s background and proficiency plan.
  • Pass the course with a B grade or better.
  • Students who have had an equivalent course at other institutions (B grade or better) may petition for those courses to count as proficiency.

Under normal circumstances, students are expected to pass all sections of the exam or pass the appropriate course (or equivalent) before the start of the 3rd semester of graduate study.

Research Project (minimum 4 hours)

The student will complete a research project with an Astronomy Department faculty member (i.e., ASTR 590).  A paper reporting the results is required, which must be prepared in scientific journal style and approved by the faculty member.

For additional details and requirements refer to the Graduate College Handbook.

Approved by the University Senate, May 2011