Graduate Degree

Astrophysics and Astronomy - Master of Science

Astrophysics and Astronomy - Master of Science
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Science
College of Natural Science
Physics Astronomy

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Natural Science

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Study
Astrophysics and Astronomy - Master of Science

The aim of the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in astrophysics and astronomy is to help students to develop the ability to perform independent research and to teach in this field.

Master of Science

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


For admission to the master's degree program in astrophysics and astronomy on regular status, the student must have:

  1. Completed mathematics and astronomy or physics courses equivalent to those that are required for an undergraduate major in physics or astronomy.
  2. A satisfactory grade–point average, normally at least 3.00, in the courses referenced in item 1. above.

Students who do not meet the requirements for admission to the program on regular status may be admitted on a provisional basis to remove deficiencies.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Astrophysics and Astronomy

The student must:

  1. Complete a total of 30 credits for the degree under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis).
  2. Pass a qualifying master’s exam that tests basic knowledge of undergraduate physics with a grade of B or above before the end of the student's first semester of the second year. A maximum of three attempts is allowed on this exam.
  3. Complete the following core physics courses or their subject examinations, and the following core of astronomy courses, with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
    Two of the following:
    PHY    820    Classical Mechanics (3)
    PHY    831    Statistical Mechanics (3)
    PHY    841    Classical Electrodynamics I (3)
    All of the following:
    AST    810    Radiation Astrophysics (3)
    AST    825    Galactic Astronomy  (3)
    AST    835    Extragalactic Astronomy (3)
    AST    840    Stellar Astrophysics  (3)
  4. Complete a minimum of 6 credits of additional course work in physics, astrophysics or computation, with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher at the 800-level or above as chosen in consultation with the student's guidance committee.
  5. Complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).

Additional Requirements for Plan A

  1. Complete 4 to 10 credits of Astronomy 899 Master’s Thesis Research.
  2. The student must form a guidance committee of three regular faculty members: the student's master's thesis advisor, one additional member of the astronomy group and one faculty member from outside the astronomy group.
  3. Pass a final oral examination in defense of the thesis.

Additional Requirements for Plan B

  1. Complete 6 credits in Astronomy 805 Research Project. This research project is taken over two semesters and will be graded on the basis of a written paper and oral examination.
  2. Pass a final examination or evaluation.