Bachelor of Science in
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects such as planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole. In practice, Astronomy is mostly about using remote observations of celestial objects to understand how those objects work.
At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, students in the Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics program are prepared to enter a broad variety of industrial and basic science applications, as well as graduate programs in related fields. Students will use a combination of physics and astronomy classroom courses, along with hands-on laboratory courses, to understand and explore the Universe.
Embry-Riddle offers students plenty of advantages that include faculty ties to major resources, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, and major research programs sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation. Every year, ERAU graduates more students in Astronomy and Astrophysics than 85% of other undergraduate astronomy programs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 14 percent increase in physics and astronomy jobs between 2016 and 2026.
The median annual wage for Ph.D. astronomers and astrophysicists was $119,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Students frequently work one-on-one with faculty on research projects and activities.
About Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Daytona Beach, FL Campus
The B.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics at the Daytona Beach Campus has a strong fundamental basis in mathematics and physics. Housed in the Department of Physical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, the program is a member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) and has been appointed the consortium’s lead administrative institution by its Board of Directors.
The Department’s observatory facilities include an instrumented 1-meter telescope (the largest university research telescope in the southeastern U.S.). This and other high-caliber technologies are used in the laboratory components of the program. Two new spectrographs, fed by light from the 1-meter telescope, enable students to determine the temperatures, compositions, rotation rates, and speeds of stars, planets, nebulae and extragalactic objects.
As the lead member of the SARA, a group of 12 U.S. universities with similar goals for education and research in astronomy and astrophysics, students have remote access to telescopes around the globe. Through this partnership, ERAU faculty and students will have almost continuous access to nearly 90 percent of the sky.
Astronomy & Astrophysics students have access to dynamic labs on campus, including the Laboratory for Exosphere and Near Space Environment Studies (LENSES). LENSES houses computer workstations, two- and three-etalon Fabry-Perot interferometers, and optical calibrations sources with which to conduct optical observations of earth's exosphere, the moon, and stars.
Students are eligible to participate in study abroad programs.
The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy & Astrophysics has a strong fundamental basis in mathematics and physics. Added to this basis are the General Education components and the specialized courses of the field of study. It takes advantage of our department's observatory facilities, including an instrumented 1 meter telescope (the largest University research telescope in the southeastern United States), and folds them into laboratory components of the program, combining mathematics, physics, optics, astronomy, astrophysics, and instrumentation. The program’s strong emphasis on fundamental mathematics and applied sciences provides the flexibility to enter a broad variety of industrial and basic science applications, as well as graduate programs in related fields.
To enter this program, students must have completed four years of high school science and mathematics, demonstrating a high level of competency. Successful candidates for this program will be prepared to enter Calculus I and Chemistry for Engineers.
The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy & Astrophysics degree program requires 120 credit hours. The program can be completed in eight semesters. The courses necessary to earn this degree are listed below. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is needed for all required EP and PS courses, including technical electives. A grade of C or better is required in MA 241/242/243 and PS 226/227/228 as a prerequisite for entry into all subsequent EP and PS courses.
General Education Requirements
For a full description of Embry-Riddle General Education guidelines, please see the General Education section of this catalog. These minimum requirements are applicable to all degree programs.
|Communication Theory & Skills||9|
|Humanities - Lower level||3|
|Social Sciences - Lower level||3|
|Humanities or Social Sciences - Lower or Upper level||3|
|Humanities or Social Sciences - Upper level||3|
|Computer Science (EGR 115)||3|
|Mathematics (MA 241, MA 242)||8|
|Physical and Life Sciences - one course must include a lab (PS 150, PS 160)||6|
Suggested Plan of Study
|EP 101||Current Topics in Space Science||1|
|MA 241||Calculus and Analytical Geometry I||4|
|MA 242||Calculus and Analytical Geometry II||4|
|Communication, Theory and Skills *||6|
|CHM 140||Chemistry for Engineers||4|
|CHM 110L||General Chemistry I Laboratory||1|
|PS 226||Physics I||3|
|PS 226L||Physics I Laboratory||1|
|Lower-Level Humanities Elective||3|
|Lower-Level Social Sciences Elective||3|
|EGR 115||Introduction to Computing for Engineers||3|
|MA 243||Calculus and Analytical Geometry III||4|
|MA 345||Differential Equations and Matrix Methods||4|
|PS 227||Physics II||3|
|PS 228||Physics III||3|
|PS 228L||Physics III Laboratory||1|
|PS 316||Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics I||3|
|PS 317||Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics II||3|
|PS 318||Introductory Astrophysics Laboratory||1|
|Communication, Theory and Skills *||3|
|Lower-Level Humanities or Social Sciences Elective *||3|
|EP 320||Electro-Optical Engineering||3|
|EP 345||Space Science Seminar||1|
|EP 400||Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics||3|
|MA 441||Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Physics I||3|
|MA 442||Mathematical Methods for Engineering and Physics II||3|
|PS 303||Modern Physics||3|
|PS 305||Modern Physics Laboratory||1|
|PS 320||Classical Mechanics||3|
|Upper-Level Humanities or Social Science Elective *||3|
|EP 420||Planetary Science||3|
|EP 425||Observational Astronomy||3|
|EP 440||Engineering Electricity and Magnetism||3|
|EP 455||Quantum Mechanics||3|
|PS 405||Atomic Nuclear Physics||3|
|PS 408||Astrophysics II||3|
|EP 492||Senior Project ( Or Technical Elective)||3|
|Upper-Level Tech Elective||6|
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NSF Grant Advances Search for Ancient Stars and Student Career Options
An Embry-Riddle project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a recent grant of $400,000, will assess the ages of some 3,400 star pairs — stellar "twins" born when clouds of condensing gas and dust broke up into two pieces. The work will contribute to the search for far-flung life forms and deepen our understanding of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It will also provide important research experiences for students on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, where the undergraduate-level Astronomy and Astrophysics program is rapidly emerging as one of the nation’s largest.