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Astronomy and Astrophysics Major Requirements

Requirements for the B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Flowchart for Astronomy and Astrophysics Major Courses


The Astronomy Department has adopted the following curriculum for the Astronomy & Astrophysics Major:

General Education (GE) Requirements

All students completing Astronomy and Astrophysics as their primary major must complete the GE requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC), which are detailed here. Students who began at Ohio State in the Summer of 2022 or earlier will follow the Legacy GE (or GEL), whereas students who began at Ohio State in the Autumn of 2022 or later will follow the New GE (or GEN).

If your primary major is in a different college and/or if your primary major does not result in a Bachelor of Science degree, then the GE requirements for your degree may be different. Please consult with the academic advisor for your primary major for clarification on your GE requirements.

Semester Courses with Credit Hours

Programming Requirement (3 credit hours) - choose one:

Astron 1221 Astronomy Data Analysis1

CSE 1222 Introduction to Computer Programming: C++1

CSE 1223 Introduction to Computer Programming: Java1

CSE 1224 Introduction to Computer Programming: Python1

Math 1151 Calculus I (5 credit hours)2

Math 1152 Calculus II (5 credit hours)2

Math 2153 Calculus III (4 credit hours)2

Physics 1250/1250H/1260/1270 Mechanics, Thermal Physics, and Waves (5 credit hours)

Physics 1251/1251H/1261/1271 E&M, Optics, and Modern Physics (5 credit hours)

Total Credit Hours - 27


  1. Only one of Astron 1221, CSE 1222, CSE 1223, and CSE 1224 will be required. For students who have switched majors, Engr 1221 and Engr 1281H will also be considered acceptable substitutes.
  2. An acceptable substitute math sequence is Math 1151, 1172, 2173, 2415, 2568. Students with appropriate placement may also substitute the following in place of Math 1151 - 1152 - 2153: Math 1161 - 2162, Math 1181H - 2182H, Math 4181H - 4182H.
    Math 1151 - 1172 - 2173 - 2174 may also meet the minimum requirements for graduation but are not recommended for students who plan to go to graduate school in astronomy or physics.

Semester Courses with Credit Hours

Astron 2895 Topics in Astrophysics (1 credit hour)

Astron 2291 Basic Astrophysics and Planetary Astronomy (3 credit hours)

Astron 2292 Stellar, Galactic, and Extragalactic Astronomy & Astrophysics (3 credit hours)

Astron 3350 Methods of Astronomical Observation and Data Analysis (3 credit hours)

Senior Level Astrophysics Course (3 credit hours)- choose one:

Astron 5205 Planetary Science1

Astron 5681 Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis1

Astron 5682 Introduction to Cosmology1

Math 2415 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations (3 credit hours)2,3

Math 2568 Linear Algebra (3 credit hours)2

Physics 2300 Intermediate Mechanics 1 (4 credit hours)

Physics 2301 Intermediate Mechanics 2 (4 credit hours)

Physics 3700 Experimental Physics Instrumentation and Data Analysis Lab (3 credit hours)

Physics 5400/5400H Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism (4 credit hours)

Physics 5500/5500H Quantum Mechanics 1 (4 credit hours)

Physics 5600 Statistical Mechanics (4 credit hours)

Advanced Physics - Choose one:

Physics 5401H (Honors Only) Honors Advanced Electricity & Magnetism 24

Physics 5501/5501H Quantum Mechanics 24

Total Credit Hours - 46


  1. Only one of Astron 5681 and 5682 will be required. Astron 5205 may also be used with departmental approval.
  2. Math 5520H may be substituted in place of Math 2415 - 2568.
  3. Math 2255 Differential Equations and Their Applications is an acceptable substitute for Math 2415
  4. Only one of Physics 5401H and 5501/5501H will be required. 

Astronomy and Astrophysics Major Sample Schedules

For students looking to major in Astronomy and Astrophysics, there are a number of sample schedules below that describe the courses you will take depending on what math and physics classes you are starting in. For those students looking for schedules related to a double major in Physics with Astronomy and Astrophysics, click here.

Please note that these sample schedules represent only a few of many possible ways to move through the Astronomy and Astrophysics curriculum. Consult with an academic advisor to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

For students beginning in Math 1151:

For students beginning in Math 1152, 1181H, or 4181H (or higher):

For students beginning in Math 1150, 1149, or 1140:

For students beginning in Math 1148 or 1120:

For students beginning in Math 1075:

For students beginning in Math 1050:

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