​​Program Description

Reach for the stars and space out studying celestial bodies, moons and galaxies at CMU. If the mysteries of the universe put your mind into overdrive, you’ll love using CMU’s advanced equipment and astronomical observatory atop Brooks Hall. If your dream is to be an astronomer, you’ll have a bright future earning a physics degree with an astronomy concentration at CMU.​​

Points of Pride

Central Michigan University’s astronomical observatory focuses on a far-away world full of moons, planets, comets and stars. The Brooks Hall facility contains two sections: a research and reference area and an observation area. The research area contains computers, a darkroom and a library of more than 1,000 volumes of observatory publications, catalogs, charts and atlases. The observation area includes an automatic retractable dome that protects a 16-inch (40.6-cm) Newtonian/Cassegrain telescope used by faculty and students. Manufactured by DFM Engineering, the $100,000 computer-controlled classical Cassegrain reflector can be pointed to any place in the sky for more sophisticated and advanced viewing of celestial bodies.

Put Your Degree to Work

Expected growth in federal government for astronomy research should increase the number of jobs, especially at colleges, universities and national laboratories.

​U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Astronomer$106,360 per year10% (2,400 more jobs)
Postsecondary teacher$68,970 per year19% (236,400 more jobs)

For More Information

Visit the Department of Physics website or contact:

Department of Physics
Dow Science Complex 203
Phone: 989-774-3321

Program Overview

The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.

(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)

Physics Major: Astronomy Concentration

This option is available within the physics major for students with a particular interest in astronomy or astrophysics. This program provides the background desired by most astronomy graduate programs.
Total: 50-65 semester hours
Core Courses
(35 hours)
PHY 145QR
University Physics I
4
PHY 146
University Physics II
4
PHY 175
University Physics Laboratory I
1
PHY 176
University Physics Laboratory II
1
PHY 247QR
Introduction to Modern Physics
3
PHY 277
University Physics Laboratory III
1
PHY 312
Introduction to Mathematical Physics
3
PHY 322
Intermediate Mechanics
3
PHY 332
Electricity and Magnetism
3
PHY 442
Introductory Quantum Theory
4
PHY 450
Thermal Physics
3
PHY 491WI
Senior Physics Project
3
PHY 578
Experimental Physics
2
Required Courses
(15 hours)
AST 260
General Astronomy I
4
AST 261
General Astronomy II
4
AST 562
Observational Astronomy
4
AST 563
Astrophysics
3
Cognate Courses
(0-15 hours)
Mathematics Prerequisites
Note: MTH 223 is a prerequisite for both MTH 233 and 334.
MTH 132
Calculus I
4
MTH 133
Calculus II
4
MTH 233
Calculus III
4
MTH 334
Differential Equations
3