skip to content

Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Undergraduate Programs in Astronomy

The University does not offer a separate undergraduate major in Astronomy. Students who intend to pursue graduate study in astronomy or space science are encouraged to major in physics, following the advanced sequence if possible, or in electrical engineering if the student has a strongly developed interest in radioscience. The course descriptions for these basic studies are listed under the appropriate department sections of this bulletin. Students desiring guidance in developing an astronomy-oriented course of study should contact the chair of the Astronomy Program Committee. The following courses are suitable for undergraduates and are recommended to students considering advanced study in astronomy or astrophysics: PHYSICS 100, Introduction to Observational and Laboratory Astronomy; PHYSICS 160, Introduction to Stellar and Galactic Astrophysics; PHYSICS 161, Introduction to Extragalactic Astrophysics and Cosmology; GES 222, Planetary Systems: Dynamics and Origins. Students planning study in astronomy beyond the B.S. are urged to take PHYSICS 260 and 262, Introduction to Astrophysics and to Gravitation, and to consider an undergraduate thesis (PHYSICS 169) or honors thesis in an astrophysics related area. The above-mentioned courses are required for physics majors who choose the curriculum with a concentration in astrophysics (see the "Physics" section of this bulletin). The student observatory, located in the hills to the west of the campus and equipped with a 24-inch and other small reflecting telescopes, is used for instruction of the observation-oriented courses.


The minor program in Astronomy is described in the "Physics" section of this bulletin. The non-technical minor, intended for students whose major does not require the PHYSICS 40 series, requires 10 units of Physics courses (PHYSICS 21, 23, 25/26) and 9-10 units of Astronomy courses (3-4 units of PHYSICS 50 or 100, and 6 units of PHYSICS 15, 16, 17). The technical minor for other students consists of 14 units of PHYSICS 70, 100, 160, 161, and EE 164, in addition to the 40 series.

To be accepted to the minor program, students need to obtain an adviser selected from the faculty in the Astronomy Course Program. The minor declaration deadline is three quarters before graduation (that is, beginning Autumn Quarter if the student is graduating at the end of Spring Quarter). All courses for the minor must be taken at Stanford University, and a letter grade of 'C' or better must be received for all units applied toward the minor.

© Stanford University - Office of the Registrar. Archive of the Stanford Bulletin 2008-09. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints