APS Undergraduate Program
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About Our Program |
Course Requirements for Our Major |
Course Requirements for Our Minor |
Ready for Research? |
Courses for Senior Auditors |
Tutoring Information |
APS Faculty Mentors |
Current Courses |
Current Course Webpages
The APS department offers an undergraduate
Astronomy major program, culminating in a B.A. degree. The
program was started in 2000 and has since grown to a per-year
class size of several dozen students. The program is designed to
meet student needs for training in space sciences (astronomy,
astrophysics, planetary sciences, and space
physics). Undergraduates will be prepared both for academic
research careers and for the industrial market (aerospace,
computer software, instrumentation, and other technical areas),
as well as for K-12 science education, science journalism and
outreach, and space policy.
The astronomy degree has two tracks - General
Astronomy (APS degree only), and the Astrophysics / Physics
(supervised jointly by APS and Physics).
General Astronomy: This
track is a Liberal Arts degree in the science of astronomy,
observations, and technology. This track provides core training
in astronomical sciences, together with mathematics, applied
physics, computational and instrumental technology needed for
professions in the space sciences. Some students will be
inclined toward space observations (ground-based telescopes,
rocket probes, space-borne observatories). Others will have
strong interests in K-12 science education, for which astronomy
provides excellent science content for motivating young
students. Still other students will desire to acquire broad
training in science policy and science writing.
track is directed toward students interested in pursuing
graduate studies in astrophysics. For these students, we require
multi-disciplinary work in physics and mathematics together with
astronomy. The new track offers a superior experience for
students, with `value added' from the professional astrophysics
and planetary science faculty in APS. Graduates will be provided
with scientific and technological training in the space
sciences, including mathematical, physical, computational, and
The specific goals of the APS Astronomy major are:
- To provide both practical and
theoretical knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics at a level
comparable to the best programs at other major U.S. public
institutions. The APS Department is one of the few programs that
combines both astrophysics and planetary science. As a result, we
avoid duplications of overlapping curricula, and provide a unified
view of space sciences, the solar system and comparative
planetology, stellar and galactic astronomy, and cosmology.
- To provide courses on, and significant
hands-on experience with, telescopes, optics, instrumentation,
computer image processing, and computer modeling. Such skills are
useful for students wishing to pursue graduate degrees or careers in
aerospace, technical or computer industries.
- To provide opportunities for
faculty-advised research and senior (honors) theses.
We offer you the ability to graduate with
honors. This requires you maintain a minimum GPA and that you write
and defend an honors thesis. More information can be obtained from the
APS department office and/or the Honors Council Representative (Erica
Ellingson). More general information about the honors thesis is on CU-Boulder's
Honors Program page.
We provide you with several resources in pursuing this degree:
Declaration of a minor in Astrophysical and
Planetary Sciences is open to any student enrolled at
CU-Boulder. Coursework applied to the minor may be applied to another
major or towards core curriculum requirements. Minimum requirements
for a minor include:
- A minimum of six APS courses, including at least 3 advanced
courses (numbered above 3500).
- All course work applied to a minor must be completed with a
grade of C- or better (no pass/fail work may be applied). The grade
point average for all minor degree course work must be equal to 2.00
(C) or higher.
- Students pursuing an individually structured major or a major in
distributed studies are not eligible to earn a minor.
- Students are allowed to apply no more than 3 courses, including
2 advanced courses, of transfer work toward a minor.
Resources in pursuing an astronomy minor:
If you are interested in taking astronomy courses
but you are not interested in pursuing either our minor or major, take
a look at our non-majors'
information , which contains a
detailed chart of what courses we recommend you take based upon your
level of math and science.
Also, see the courses for senior
The APS undergraduate advisor is:
Dr. Martin Black
Office: Duane F-211
Dr. Black regularly holds individual scheduled
advising appointments Monday through Thursday mornings and Tuesday and
Wednesday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Walk-in hours are
Tues. 9:00-11:00 and Thurs. 2:30-5:00. During busy times, like
registration, he may have additional availability. Appointments can be
scheduled at via the Academic
Advising Center for Arts & Sciences site.
For further information concerning undergraduate studies, contact:
Undergraduate Program Assistant
Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0391