Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Astrophysics B.A.

Astrophysics, Minnesota Institute for
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2017
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 73 to 75
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
The program in astrophysics develops the skills necessary to tackle complex and ill-defined problems within the physical sciences and prepares students for careers in several broad areas. The program is aimed primarily for students interested in secondary education in the physical sciences, science policy, and science and technical writing. The program can also prepare students for graduate study in astrophysics.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
Students must complete 7 courses before admission to the program.
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
Required prerequisites
Math Requirements
Take 3 courses for a total of 12 credits.
Calculus I
MATH 1271 - Calculus I [MATH] (4.0 cr)
or MATH 1371 - CSE Calculus I [MATH] (4.0 cr)
or MATH 1571H - Honors Calculus I [MATH] (4.0 cr)
Calculus II
MATH 1272 - Calculus II (4.0 cr)
or MATH 1372 - CSE Calculus II (4.0 cr)
or MATH 1572H - Honors Calculus II (4.0 cr)
Linear Algebra
MATH 2243 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (4.0 cr)
or MATH 2373 - CSE Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (4.0 cr)
or MATH 2574H - Honors Calculus IV (4.0 cr)
Required prerequisites
Physics Requirements
Take 4 courses for a total of 16 credits.
Physics I
PHYS 1301W - Introductory Physics for Science and Engineering I [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 1401V - Honors Physics I [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 1501V - Honors Introduction to Mechanics [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
Physics II
PHYS 1302W - Introductory Physics for Science and Engineering II [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 1402V - Honors Physics II [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 1502V - Honors Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism [PHYS, WI] (4.0 cr)
Thermodynamics
PHYS 2201 - Introductory Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics (4.0 cr)
Physics III
PHYS 2503 - Physics III: Intro to Waves, Optics, and Special Relativity (4.0 cr)
or PHYS 2503H - Honors Physics III (4.0 cr)
General Requirements
All students in baccalaureate degree programs are required to complete general University and college requirements including writing and liberal education courses. For more information about University-wide requirements, see the liberal education requirements. Required courses for the major, minor or certificate in which a student receives a D grade (with or without plus or minus) do not count toward the major, minor or certificate (including transfer courses).
Program Requirements
Students are required to complete 4 semester(s) of any second language. with a grade of C-, or better, or S, or demonstrate proficiency in the language(s) as defined by the department or college.
CLA BA degrees require 18 upper-division (3xxx-level or higher) credits outside the major designator. These credits must be taken in designators different from the major designator and cannot include courses that are cross-listed with the major designator. The major designator for the Astrophysics BA is AST. AST 1011H is recommended but not required. The number of credits in the major varies by area of interest, but requires at least 15 credits of AST courses. Students may earn no more than one undergraduate degree from the Astrophysics program: a BA or a BS or a minor. All incoming CLA freshmen must complete the First Year Experience course sequence.
Multivariable Calculus
Take 1 course for 4 credits.
MATH 2263 - Multivariable Calculus (4.0 cr)
or MATH 2374 - CSE Multivariable Calculus and Vector Analysis (4.0 cr)
or MATH 2573H - Honors Calculus III (4.0 cr)
Major Courses
Each of the different areas of interest has the same core math, physics, and astrophysics requirements. Curriculum details for the different areas--secondary education, science writing, science policy, and scientist--are developed by the student in consultation with an adviser.
Astrophysics Requirement
Take 3 courses for a total of 12 credits.
AST 2001 - Introduction to Astrophysics (4.0 cr)
AST 4001 - Astrophysics I (4.0 cr)
AST 4002 - Astrophysics II (4.0 cr)
Physics Requirement
Take 5 courses for a total of 18 credits.
PHYS 2601 - Quantum Physics (4.0 cr)
PHYS 3041 - Mathematical Methods for Physicists (3.0 cr)
PHYS 3605W - Modern Physics Laboratory [WI] (3.0 cr)
PHYS 4001 - Analytical Mechanics (4.0 cr)
PHYS 4002 - Electricity and Magnetism (4.0 cr)
Technical Electives
Technical electives outside of AST/PHYS may be approved by departmental adviser.
Take 8 or more credit(s) from the following:
· AST 4xxx
· AST 5xxx
· PHYS 4303 - Electrodynamics and Waves (3.0 cr)
Senior Project
This requirement can be met with directed research in astrophysics or a project tailored to the specific area of interest.
AST 4994W - Directed Research [WI] (3.0-5.0 cr)
Upper Division Writing Intensive within the major
Students are required to take one upper division writing intensive course within the major. If that requirement has not been satisfied within the core major requirements, students must choose one course from the following list. Some of these courses may also fulfill other major requirements.
Take 0 - 1 course(s) from the following:
· AST 4994W - Directed Research [WI] (3.0-5.0 cr)
· PHYS 3605W - Modern Physics Laboratory [WI] (3.0 cr)
 
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MATH 1271 - Calculus I (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00067 - Math 1271/Math 1281/Math 1371/
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Differential calculus of functions of a single variable, including polynomial, rational, exponential, and trig functions. Applications, including optimization and related rates problems. Single variable integral calculus, using anti-derivatives and simple substitution. Applications may include area, volume, work problems. prereq: 4 yrs high school math including trig or satisfactory score on placement test or grade of at least C- in [1151 or 1155]
MATH 1371 - CSE Calculus I (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 1142/1271/1281/1371/1571H
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Differentiation of single-variable functions, basics of integration of single-variable functions. Applications: max-min, related rates, area, curve-sketching. Use of calculator, cooperative learning. prereq: CSE or pre-bioprod concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in biosys engn (PRE), background in [precalculus, geometry, visualization of functions/graphs], instr consent; familiarity with graphing calculators recommended
MATH 1571H - Honors Calculus I (MATH)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00067 - Math 1142/1271/1281/1371/1571H
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Differential/integral calculus of functions of a single variable. Emphasizes hard problem-solving rather than theory. prereq: Honors student and permission of University Honors Program
MATH 1272 - Calculus II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 1272/1282/1252/1372/1572
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Techniques of integration. Calculus involving transcendental functions, polar coordinates. Taylor polynomials, vectors/curves in space, cylindrical/spherical coordinates. prereq: [1271 or equiv] with grade of at least C-
MATH 1372 - CSE Calculus II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 1272/1282/1252/1372/1572
Typically offered: Every Spring
Techniques of integration. Calculus involving transcendental functions, polar coordinates, Taylor polynomials, vectors/curves in space, cylindrical/spherical coordinates. Use of calculators, cooperative learning. prereq: Grade of at least C- in [1371 or equiv], CSE or pre-Bioprod/Biosys Engr
MATH 1572H - Honors Calculus II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00068 - Math 1272/1282/1252/1372/1572
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Continuation of 1571. Infinite series, differential calculus of several variables, introduction to linear algebra. prereq: 1571H, honors student, permission of University Honors Program
MATH 2243 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 2243/2373/2573
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Linear algebra: basis, dimension, matrices, eigenvalues/eigenvectors. Differential equations: first-order linear, separable; second-order linear with constant coefficients; linear systems with constant coefficients. prereq: [1272 or 1282 or 1372 or 1572] w/grade of at least C-
MATH 2373 - CSE Linear Algebra and Differential Equations
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 2243/2373/2573
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Linear algebra: basis, dimension, eigenvalues/eigenvectors. Differential equations: linear equations/systems, phase space, forcing/resonance, qualitative/numerical analysis of nonlinear systems, Laplace transforms. Use of computer technology. prereq: [1272 or 1282 or 1372 or 1572] w/grade of at least C-, CSE or pre-Bio Prod/Biosys Engr
MATH 2574H - Honors Calculus IV
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00561 - Math 2243/Math 2373/Math 2573H
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Advanced linear algebra, differential equations. Additional topics as time permits. prereq: Math 1572H or Math 2573H, honors student and permission of University Honors Program
PHYS 1301W - Introductory Physics for Science and Engineering I (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00078
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Use of fundamental principles to solve quantitative problems. Motion, forces, conservation principles, structure of matter. Applications to mechanical systems. prereq: concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Math 1271 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Math 1371 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Math 1571
PHYS 1401V - Honors Physics I (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00078
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Comprehensive, calculus-level general physics. Emphasizes use of fundamental principles to solve quantitative problems. Description of motion, forces, conservation principles. Structure of matter, with applications to mechanical systems.
PHYS 1501V - Honors Introduction to Mechanics (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00078 - Phys 1201W/Phys1301W/Phys1401V
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Principles of mechanics for those with full year of calculus/equivalent of one year of high-school physics. Introduction to kinematics, forces, momentum/energy, conservation laws, angular momentum, rigid body motion, gravity, simple harmonic motion, waves. prereq: One year of high school physics, one year of college-level calculus (or a grade of 5 on the BC-level AP calculus exam), Honors, permission of UHP
PHYS 1302W - Introductory Physics for Science and Engineering II (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00079
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Use of fundamental principles to solve quantitative problems. Motion, forces, conservation principles, fields, structure of matter. Applications to electromagnetic phenomena. prereq: 1301W, concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Math 1272 or Math 1372 or Math 1572
PHYS 1402V - Honors Physics II (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00079
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Fundamental principles to solve quantitative problems. Description of motion, forces, conservation principles, fields. Structure of matter, with applications to electro-magnetic phenomena. prereq: 1401V, honors student or permission of University Honors Program
PHYS 1502V - Honors Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS, WI)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00079 - Phys 1202W/1302W/1402V
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Principles of electricity/magnetism for those with full year of calculus/equivalent of one year of high-school physics. Introduction to electrostatics, magnetostatics, electrodynamics, electric/magnetic properties of materials, circuits, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic waves. prereq: 1501V, honors
PHYS 2201 - Introductory Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Thermodynamics and its underlying statistical nature. prereq: [1302W or 1402V or 1502V], [concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in MATH 1272 or MATH 1372 or MATH 1572H]
PHYS 2503 - Physics III: Intro to Waves, Optics, and Special Relativity
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00080 - Phys 2303/2403H/2503
Typically offered: Every Fall
Third semester of introductory physics. Mechanical/electromagnetic waves, optics, special relativity. prereq: 1302W, [MATH 1272 or MATH 1372 or MATH 1572H]
PHYS 2503H - Honors Physics III
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00080 - Phys 2303/2403H/2503
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
The third semester of a calculus-based introductory physics sequence. Topics include: relativistic kinematics and dynamics, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, light, interference, diffraction, wave-particle duality and topics in modern physics. Course emphasizes the use of fundamental problems to solve quantitative problems. Intended primarily for those who have completed 1401V/1402V, although those students with outstanding performance in 1301W/1302W may be granted permission to enroll. prereq: 1402V or 1502V, honors student or permission of University Honors Program or instr consent
MATH 2263 - Multivariable Calculus
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 2263/2373/2573H/3251
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Derivative as linear map. Differential/integral calculus of functions of several variables, including change of coordinates using Jacobians. Line/surface integrals. Gauss, Green, Stokes Theorems. prereq: [1272 or 1372 or 1572] w/grade of at least C-
MATH 2374 - CSE Multivariable Calculus and Vector Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Math 2263/2373/2573H/3251
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Derivative as linear map. Differential/integral calculus of functions of several variables, including change of coordinates using Jacobians. Line/surface integrals. Gauss, Green, Stokes theorems. Use of computer technology. prereq: [1272 or 1282 or 1372 or 1572] w/grade of at least C-, CSE or pre-Bioprod/Biosys Engr
MATH 2573H - Honors Calculus III
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00069 - Math 2263/2374/3251
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Integral calculus of several variables. Vector analysis, including theorems of Gauss, Green, Stokes. prereq: Math 1572H or Math 2574H, honors student and permission of University Honors Program
AST 2001 - Introduction to Astrophysics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Physical principles and study of solar system, stars, galaxy, and universe. How observations/conclusions are made. prereq: [One yr calculus, PHYS 1302] or instr consent
AST 4001 - Astrophysics I
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Astrophysics of stars and stellar populations. Stellar formation, evolution, interiors/atmospheres. Stellar populations, galactic distribution of stars. prereq: 2001, Phys 2601
AST 4002 - Astrophysics II
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Astrophysics of galaxies and the universe. Diffuse matter, galactic structure, and evolution. Clusters of galaxies. Introductory cosmology, evolution of the universe. prereq: 2001, Phys 2601
PHYS 2601 - Quantum Physics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to quantum mechanics. Applications to atomic, molecular, condensed-matter, nuclear, elementary-particle, and statistical physics. Associated lab is 2605. prereq: [2503H or 2503], [concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Math 2243 or Math 2373 or Math 2574H]
PHYS 3041 - Mathematical Methods for Physicists
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course introduces additional mathematical topics that physics majors need to properly handle upper division physics classes. prereq: PHYS 1302, MATH 2373 (or equivalent courses)
PHYS 3605W - Modern Physics Laboratory (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02527 - Phys 2605/Phys 3605W
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Laboratory experiments in atomic, solid state, and nuclear physics. Introduction to data analysis techniques as well as the communication of scientific results through maintaining a logbook and writing papers. Prerequisites: completion (or concurrent registration) in PHYS 2503 or 2503H.
PHYS 4001 - Analytical Mechanics
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Analytic Newtonian mechanics. Mathematics beyond prerequisites developed as required. prereq: [2303 or 2601 or Chem 3501 or Chem 3502], two sems soph math
PHYS 4002 - Electricity and Magnetism
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Classical theory of electromagnetic fields using vector algebra and vector calculus. prereq: [2303 or 2601 or Chem 3501 or Chem 3502], two sems soph math
PHYS 4303 - Electrodynamics and Waves
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Analytical mechanics. Electricity/magnetism, including mechanical/electromagnetic wave phenomena. Physical/geometrical optics. prereq: 4001, 4002
AST 4994W - Directed Research (WI)
Credits: 3.0 -5.0 [max 5.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Independent research in observational or theoretical astrophysics. Senior Thesis for undergraduate astrophysics majors. Arranged with faculty member. prereq: instr consent
AST 4994W - Directed Research (WI)
Credits: 3.0 -5.0 [max 5.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Independent research in observational or theoretical astrophysics. Senior Thesis for undergraduate astrophysics majors. Arranged with faculty member. prereq: instr consent
PHYS 3605W - Modern Physics Laboratory (WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02527 - Phys 2605/Phys 3605W
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Laboratory experiments in atomic, solid state, and nuclear physics. Introduction to data analysis techniques as well as the communication of scientific results through maintaining a logbook and writing papers. Prerequisites: completion (or concurrent registration) in PHYS 2503 or 2503H.