Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy is broader and less specialized than the B.S., with a much greater choice in course selection. It is designed, like the B.S., to develop and sharpen analytical and quantitative reasoning, while allowing cultivation of a broader range of knowledge than with the B.S., one that can be applied to a variety of career options. The B.A. degree track requires a coursework of 41 credit hours. Its greater flexibility is obtained by not requiring 18 credits of physics courses from the required coursework for the B.S.

The Bachelor of Arts degree can be simply a terminal liberal degree, much like any liberal arts degree such as Philosophy or English, but with a much stronger quantitative background. Alternatively, it can serve as a foundation for pursuit of a career in business, law, medicine, or education when combined with appropriate courses. For example, to prepare for medical school the student would take the usual pre-med courses in chemistry, biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry in addition to the astronomy, physics and math as required by the major. The required coursework for the Bachelor of Arts is as follow.

Mathematics

  • MAC 2311 – Calculus 1
  • MAC 2312 – Calculus 2
  • MAC 2313 – Calculus 3

Physics

  • PHY 2048 – General Physics with Calculus 1
  • PHY 2048L – General Physics Lab 1
  • PHY 2049 – General Physics with Calculus 2
  • PHY 2049L – General Physics Lab 2

Astronomy

  • AST 3018 – Astronomy and Astrophysics 1
  • AST 3019 – Astronomy and Astrophysics 2
  • AST 3722C – Observational Techiniques in Astronomy 1
  • Two 3000–4000-level AST courses
  • Two additional 3000–4000-level AST or PHY or two courses from the list below:
    • AST 2007 – Solar System
    • AST 2037 – Life in the Universe
    • PHY 2464 – Physical Basis of Music
    • PHY 3101 – Introduction to Modern Physics
    • PHZ 4710 – Introduction to Biophysics
    • GLY 2042 – Planetary Geology
    • SWS 2007 – World of Water
    • GLY 2010C – Physical Geology
    • GLY 3105C – Evolution of Earth and Life
    • MCB 3703 – Astrobiology

Students wishing to strengthen their analytical skills, it is recommended to take either STA 2023-3024, Introduction to Statistics I & II, or STA 3032 Statistics for Engineers and Scientists.

Certain courses listed above may have pre- or corequisites that must be met, the student can check these requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog with the astronomy course descriptions, the physics course descriptions, or the mathematics course descriptions.

Research Experience

If the student wishes to engage in research experience while on the B.A. track, they can take three (up to six) credits of AST 4911, Individual Work, with one of the faculty. The course involves working on a one-on-one basis with the faculty member, and/or a graduate student supervised by the faculty member. Another way of gaining research experience is participating in one of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs around the US. The following have comprehensive lists for programs in the astronomy and astrophysics field as well as otehr science related fields.

Ideally, one should not start research until you have had AST 3018 and 3019, and some of these programs require a junior or senior standing.