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BS in Physics with Emphasis in Astronomy

Degree Program Description

Physics is the science that studies the structure and properties of matter and transformations of energy. With math as the language and experimental verification as a guide, physical study has established the fundamental laws of nature that are the foundation of all natural science and technology. The study of physics includes learning the general principles and the phenomena that have been discovered and developing the skills that enable such knowledge to be advanced through research. An emphasis area in astronomy is excellent preparation also for science teachers, laboratory technicians, computer programmers, and science journalists. It can also serve as the basis for graduate degrees in other fields, such as law or medical school. People with a degree (or background) in Physics with and emphasis in astronomy find jobs in planetariums, science museums, national observatories, national laboratories, federal agencies, universities, business or private industry.

Major Program Requirements

In addition to University, general education, and College of Arts and Science requirements, students must also meet the following major program requirements. All major requirements in the College of Arts and Science must be completed with grades of C- or higher unless otherwise indicated.

Students interested in astronomy may choose to pursue a BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Astronomy (the emphasis will show up on the transcript). For this option, students must take the required physics courses, and five additional astronomy/physics elective courses. Four of the astronomy/physics electives must be chosen from the list below:

ASTRON 3010Introduction to Modern Astrophysics3
ASTRON 4020Astrophysical Techniques3
PHYSCS 4110Light and Modern Optics4
ASTRON 4180Solar System Science3
ASTRON 4250Stellar Astrophysics3
ASTRON 4350Galactic Astronomy3
ASTRON 4360Extragalactic Astronomy3
ASTRON 4450Introduction to Cosmology3
ASTRON 4460Interstellar Medium3
ASTRON 4550Cosmochemistry3
ASTRON 4950Undergraduate Research in Astronomy1-3
ASTRON 4960Senior Thesis in Astronomy3

Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester. A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available.

First Year
PHYSCS 20101PHYSCS 275015
MATH 150015MATH 170015
ENGLSH 1000*3General Education*3
CHEM 1400, CMP_SC 1050, or INFOTC 10403 
CHEM 14011 
 13 13
Second Year
PHYSCS 276015PHYSCS 3150W3
MATH 230013PHYSCS 41003
General Education*3MATH 41003
Second Language/Alternative*4-6Second Language/Alternative4-6
 General Education*3
 15-17 16-18
Third Year
PHYSCS 41403PHYSCS 412013
PHYSCS 406014Physics Elective16
Math Elective13Math Elective13
Second Language/Alternative*3-4General Education*3
General Education3 
 16-17 15
Fourth Year
PHYSCS 480013PHYSCS Electives/Research16
PHYSCS Elective/Research16Elective Courses9-10
General Education*3 
Elective courses3 
 15 15-16
Total Credits: 118-124

Course meets degree program requirements


Course meets University general education and/or campus graduation requirements

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner. Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress. This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities. For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center. No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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