Majors, minors & more
College of Arts and Sciences
- Offered as:
Astronomy is the study of the universe beyond the earth—stars, solar systems, and galaxies. Astronomy probes fascinating questions such as how the universe began, how it will end, whether black holes really exist, and the fate of the sun. New discoveries are made every day in the field—like gravitational lenses, gamma-ray bursters, quasars, and extra-solar planets—with tools such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
Students who take the minor in astronomy at WSU explore the stars using the University's planetarium and the Jewett Observatory, which has the largest refracting telescope in the state of Washington.
- Strengths of the program
- Learn to use the refracting telescope at the campus observatory, as well as the University’s planetarium.
- Collaborate with astronomy faculty on research projects.
- You can join a math, science, and engineering community residence hall at WSU Pullman—share classes with your neighbors, study together, get free tutoring, and use the hall’s computer lab.
- Study with faculty who are noted for their work with the Laser Interferometic Gravitational-Wave-Observatory, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and NASA’s Space Interferometry Mission.
- Features of the program
The program in astronomy offers a 19-hour minor. Because the core courses in the minor have specific prerequisites, students who wish to minor in astronomy find that a major in chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, or physics is a good match. However, it is possible to minor in astronomy along with any other major if the necessary prerequisites are taken.
When you minor in astronomy, you'll take courses like these:
Principles of Astronomy
Astronomy and Astrophysics I & II
Modern Physics I
The Night Sky
The Solar System
Science in Western Civilization Through Newton
You'll need to take these courses to prepare for the featured courses of the astronomy minor.
Introductory Linear Algebra
Calculus I and II
Physics for Scientists and Engineers I and II
Note: See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.
Students who minor in this program may continue in astronomy to prepare for careers with NASA or planetariums, or as teachers, writers, researchers, or professors.
Knowledge of astronomy also applies to careers in navigation, space flight, and aerospace. A few graduates have found jobs in the finance industry, where they are valued for their skill with mathematical models of real situations.
Astronomy is also helpful in preparing students who want to pursue advanced graduate study in other sub-fields of science or engineering.
- Scholarships and financial aid
A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs. Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.
In addition to general university scholarships, awards specifically for astronomy students and science majors are available through the WSU Department of Physics and Astronomy and the College of Sciences.
To be eligible for scholarships, students need to complete the Washington State University general scholarship application. Completing the FAFSA in addition will ensure eligibility for the widest range of scholarships and need-based financial aid.
For information or to apply for financial aid and scholarships from WSU, see the Scholarships and Finances section of the WSU website.