Majors and Minors in Astronomy
The Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences offers a major and a minor in Astronomy. Any student, regardless of major program of study, may obtain a minor by successfully completing a minimum of 20 hours of selected courses at the 3000 or 4000 level in astronomy. If you major or minor in astronomy you can become involved in research projects carried out by VSU faculty members, off-campus student research programs, and learn how to give planetarium shows using our planetarium facility.
What can you do with a degree in Astronomy?
Graduates of the astronomy program at Valdosta State University have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in astronomy. Others have embarked on rewarding careers in aerospace and related industry or have become planetarium directors or research assistants at national observatories. Others have specialized in science teaching for high school and middle school. Careers open to people with a Bachelor degree in astronomy include: science or technical writer, data analyst, observatory scheduler, telescope operator at national observatories, such as NOAO and NRAO, data quality specialist for large space-based-observatory ground facilities, such as Space Telescope Science Institute, Chandra (X-ray Space Telescope at MIT), GRO, and SIRTF (Spitzer IR Telescope at Cornell University).
Courses for the Astronomy Major
Astronomy is the oldest science. Since it concerns how the universe works, astronomy is a sub-specialty of physics, so in addition to astronomy, majors take physics and mathematics courses. For the astronomy major we offer courses in general astronomy and astrophysics, the solar system, and observational techniques. Our students gain practical teaching experience as laboratory assistants and tutors. Research experience is available since our faculty are active, professional astronomers. Our diverse faculty specializes in solar system astronomy, interstellar medium, stellar evolution, active galaxies, and cosmology.
|ASTR 1010K - 1020K Astronomy of the Solar System (1010) and Stars and Galaxies (1020)" are introductory courses with a lab about the basic physics of astronomical topics, such as: celestial motion, light, gravity, and the solar system (in I) and stars, stellar evolution,||ASTR 3800 "Astrobiology" is the study of the origin of life on Earth and techniques to find life elsewhere in the universe.|
|ASTR 4101 and 4102 "Observational Techniques" are laboratory courses in which you study many aspects of instrumental and observational astronomy, including optics, spectroscopy, photography, photometry, electronics, CCDs, as well as modeling and analysis of data.||ASTR 4410 "Astrophysics" In modern times, there is almost no difference between astronomy and astrophysics. Old time astronomy dealt mostly with astrometry and planetary motion. Modern astronomy is a subspecialty of physics. In this course you will be rigorously introduced to radiative transfer, stellar interiors and atmospheres, stellar evolution, gaseous nebulae and cosmology.|
|ASTR 4800 "Internship in Astronomy" (see catalog)||ASTR 4900 "Special Topics in Astronomy" (see catalog)|
ASTR 4950 "Directed Study in Astronomy" (see catalog)