Undergraduate Degree Programs

The most common course of study for undergraduate astronomy students is a major in Physics with a specialization in Astronomy (18 additional credit hours). Students not majoring in Physics (or majoring in Physics but with a different specialization) may choose a 19-credit minor in Astronomy. More information is at the Physics department website, or in the UCF Undergraduate Course Catalog (though read below for important notes about course offerings and alternate requirements available by petition).

Students specializing in astronomy are required to complete 3 credit hours of Directed Independent Research. This is an outstanding opportunity to gain valuable research experience and be part of cutting-edge astronomy. Many of the faculty members in the Planetary Sciences group have openings for interested and capable undergraduate students. Currently we have students working on wide variety of projects in the areas of exoplanets, comets, Saturn’s rings, large-scale structure, and much more.

There are also opportunities for students who wish to take their research a step further, such as the Honors in the Major program and the Student-Mentor Academic Research Teams (SMART) program, both run through the Burnett Honors College. These programs offer a chance for students to present their research to the UCF and broader communities, and potentially to receive additional funding for the research.

 

IMPORTANT NOTES

Substitutions, course discontinuations, pre-requisites:

  • AST 3722C Techniques of Observational Astronomy is not currently offered; take AST 4700 Experimental Methods in Astronomy instead.
  • AST 3110 Solar System Astronomy is not currently offered; take AST 4152 Planetary Geophysics instead.
  • AST 4501 Celestial Mechanics is not currently offered.
  • AST 2002L Astronomy Lab is in development.
  • Some courses (e.g. AST 4142) may have pre-requisites that include some of the abovementioned discontinued courses (e.g. AST 3110). If that is the case, usually the substituted course (e.g. AST 4152) will be sufficient. If you have questions, contact the instructor of the course you wish to take to discuss the necessary requirements. 
  • AST 2002 Astronomy and AST 2002H Honors Astronomy are offered every semester.
  • AST 2037 Life in the Universe is offered occasionally.
  • AST 2720L Astronomy Techniques is offered occasionally.
  • MET 2104 The Earth’s Climate is taught by our group (despite not having the 'AST' prefix), but note that it is also offered as a specific section of PSC 1121.
  • AST 5334 Extrasolar Planets and Brown Dwarfs may be offered if at least 5 students request to take it in the same semester.

 

 

Alternate degree requirements:

These options are available by petition and are working their way toward inclusion in a future undergraduate catalog.

1. Both AST 4762 Astronomical Data Analysis and AST 4700 Experimental Methods in Astronomy are lab classes.  Students in any specialization may petition to use one or both to substitute for PHY 4803L Advanced Physics Laboratory and/or the "select 1" laboratory course.  Both can also be used in the Astronomy Specialization where AST 3722C is listed.  However, each "slot" in the student's degree program must be filled.

2. Use any selection of AST non-lab courses at the 3000 level or above for the "Select 2" requirement in the Astronomy Specialization, including graduate classes.  Directed Independent Study in astronomy may be used for the "Select 2" requirement if the class is set up as a lecture or independent readings on a coherent and general topic and not, for example, as a research class.  This is decided on a case-by-case basis; we recommend getting approval before starting the class.  Directed Independent Research may not be used for the "Select 2" requirement or to substitute for AST 3722C in the Astronomy specialization requirements.

 

 

 

 

Course sequence

Here is the course sequence frequency as as we expect it to happen as of October 2015. Please note that in October 2015 we changed the sequence of our courses slightly. We will add in electives as we confirm that they will be offered. We try to offer upper-level undergraduate courses on a two-year cycle, but changes do occur. Note that all undergraduates should contact the instructor before registering for any graduate level (5000-level) course.

  • Even Springs ('18, '20, '22...)
    • AST 3211 Stellar Astrophysics
    • AST 4700 Experimental Methods in Astronomy (or AST 5263, the graduate version)
    • AST 5165 Planetary Atmospheres
  • Even Falls ('18, '20, '22...)
    • AST 4142 Asteroids Comets Meteorites (or AST 5145, the graduate version)
    • AST 4762 Astronomical Data Analysis (or AST 5765, the graduate version)
  • Odd Springs ('17, '19, '21,...)
    • AST 4152 Planetary Geophysics (or AST 5154, the graduate version)
  • Odd Falls ('17, '19, '21,...)
    • AST 3402 Galaxies and Cosmology
    • AST 4762 Astronomical Data Analysis (or AST 5765, the graduate version)
    • AST 6112 Origins and Evolution of Planetary Systems

 

 

 

 

Forthcoming course schedule

Here is the forthcoming schedule as we expect it to happen as of October 2015. Please note that in October 2015 we changed the sequence of our courses slightly. We will add in electives as we confirm that they will be offered. We try to offer upper-level undergraduate courses on a two-year cycle, but changes do occur. Note that all undergraduates should contact the instructor before registering for any graduate level (5000-level) course.

  • Fall 2016 -- an even-numbered fall
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 4142 -- Asteroids Comets Meteorites (undergrad version of AST 5145)
    • AST 4700 -- Experimental Methods in Astronomy (undergrad version of AST 5263)
    • AST 4762 -- Astronomical Data Analysis (undergrad version of AST 5765)
    • AST 5145 -- Advanced Asteroids Comets Meteorites (grad version of AST 4142)
    • AST 5263 -- Advanced Observational Astronomy (grad version of AST 4700)
    • AST 5765 -- Advanced Astronomical Data Analysis (grad version of AST 4762)
  • Spring 2017 -- an odd-numbered spring
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 4152 -- Planetary Geophysics (undergrad version of AST 5154)
    • AST 5154 -- Advances Planetary Geophysics (grad version of AST 4152)
  • Fall 2017 -- an odd-numbered fall
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 3402 -- Galaxies and Cosmology
    • AST 4762 -- Astronomical Data Analysis (undergrad version of AST 5765)
    • AST 5765 -- Advanced Astronomical Data Analysis (grad version of AST 4762)
    • AST 6112 -- Origins of Planetary Systems
  • Spring 2018 -- an even-numbered spring
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 3211 -- Stellar Astrophysics
    • AST 4700 -- Experimental Methods in Astronomy (undergrad version of AST 5263)
    • AST 5165 -- Planetary Atmospheres
    • AST 5263 -- Advanced Observational Astronomy (grad version of AST 4700)
  • Fall 2018 -- an even-numbered fall
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 4142 -- Asteroids Comets Meteorites (undergrad version of AST 5145)
    • AST 4762 -- Astronomical Data Analysis (undergrad version of AST 5765)
    • AST 5145 -- Advanced Asteroids Comets Meteorites (grad version of AST 4142)
    • AST 5765 -- Advanced Astronomical Data Analysis (grad version of AST 4762)
  • Spring 2019 -- an odd-numbered spring
    • AST 2002 and 2002H -- Astronomy (our Introductory GEP course)
    • AST 4152 -- Planetary Geophysics (undergrad version of AST 5154)
    • AST 5154 -- Advances Planetary Geophysics (grad version of AST 4152)