Interdisciplinary Track

For those planning a career in applied astronomy, outreach, or education

The Interdisciplinary Astronomy major and minor are designed for students seeking to develop the kind of broad understanding of astronomical principles and practice ideal for technical positions in astronomy or for careers like teaching, science writing, and outreach. The Interdisciplinary Track includes foundational courses in math and physics, but the requirements in these areas are less intensive than for the Academic Track. Instead, the focus is on providing a broad introduction to key concepts, theories, and phenomena; recent discoveries; methods and technologies important to the field; and communicating science to the public. This track is designed to be adapted to each student's career goals and and is especially strong with a second major or minor, in areas like education, journalism/communication, or museum studies.


Course Requirements for the Interdisciplinary Astronomy Major

Note: Courses in blue also meet the requirements for the Academic Track.

Astro 100 At least 3 credits of 100-level Astronomy (101, 102, 104, 105, 115 or 142) 3  
Math 115 Calculus I 4 FWSpS
Math 116 Calculus II 4 FWSpS
Physics* 140/141 General Physics I; Elementary Lab I 5 FW
Astro 201 Introduction to Astrophysics 4 FW
Astro 305 Astronomy and the Community (can be elected for 1-3 credits per semester) 3 FWSpS
Astro 429 Senior Seminar (satisfies the senior writing requirement) 2 F
9 credits from (at least 3 credits must be 300-level or above)
Astro 205 Exploring the X-ray Universe 3  
Astro 210 The Universe Through the Eyes of Magellan** 3  
Astro 220 New Discoveries in Astronomy 3 F/W
Astro 361 Astronomical Techniques 4 W
Astro 402 Stellar Astrophysics 3 F
Astro 403 Interstellar Medium 3 F/alt
Astro 404 Galaxies and the Universe 3 W
Astro 405 High-Energy Astrophysics 3 F/alt
3 credits from
Earth 201 Introduction to Physical Geography: The Earth System 4/3 FW/SpS
Earth/Astro 204 The Planets: Their Geology and Climates 3 W
Earth 320 Earth Systems Evolution 4 FWSpS
Earth 325 Environmental Geochemistry 3 FWSpS
Earth 331 Climate and Climate Change (see bulletin for credit restrictions) 4/3 FWSpS
Earth 351/451 Earth Structure 4 FWSpS

Earth 420

Introductory Earth Physics 3 FWSpS
Elective – 3 credits from
Any 300- or 400-level Astro course or 3-4 FW
Phil 420 Philosophy of Science 3 W
Phil 422 Philosophy of Physics 3/2 FW/SpS
Phil 423 Problems of Space and Time 3/2 FW/SpS
Phil 424 Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics 3/2 FW/SpS
Phil 427 Science and Gender 3/2 FW/SpS
Phil 464 The Scientific Revolution 3/2 FW/SpS
Physics 411 Introduction to Computational Physics 3 FWSpS
Physics 420 Physics for Educators 3 W
Physics 424 Physics in Action 3 FWSpS
Physics 481 Science, Technology and Public Policy 3 FWSpS

*Students are encouraged to take additional Physics courses earlier in their course of study.
**This course is offered on an irregular basis; students interested in taking it should inform the undergraduate advisor of their interest and are advised to register for it when it appears on the schedule.
Note that the semesters a class is offered is based on the LSA Bulletin, not on the current class schedule.


If you enjoy astronomy but don’t plan to major in it, an astronomy minor on the Interdisciplinary Track can be a great way to incorporate the field into your existing course of study. Because the physics demands are less intensive than on the Academic Track, it’s often easier for non-science majors to fit an Interdisciplinary Astronomy minor into their schedules. Students interested in this option should meet with the undergraduate advisor to develop a course plan tailored to their goals and interests.

Click to see the requirements for a minor in Interdisciplinary Astronomy.

For More Information

Contact an undergraduate advisor at

To schedule an advising appointment, click here.