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The program prepares students for graduate school, a career in research or teaching, or employment in industry, business, or education fields where analytical skills and a scientific background are advantageous. Students who are considering a double major should talk to the undergraduate coordinator.


University-wide admissions policies can be found in Undergraduate Admissions Policies.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.


Students must fulfill all Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees including the Mason Core.

At least 18 credits used to fulfill an Astronomy, BS cannot be used to fulfill another major or minor. Some course substitutions are allowed for double majors, subject to approval from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

By taking ASTR 402 RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core), astronomy majors satisfy the university's writing-intensive requirement.

For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-BS-ASTR

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Students must complete a total of 52 credits in physics and astronomy and 14 credits in mathematics with a minimum GPA of 2.00.

Required Astronomy Courses

ASTR 210Introduction to Astrophysics3
ASTR 328Stars and Interstellar Medium3
ASTR 402RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core) 14
Total Credits10

Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.

Additional Astronomy Courses

Select two courses from the following:6
Planetary Sciences
Galaxies and Cosmology
Total Credits6

Required Physics Courses

PHYS 160University Physics I (Mason Core)3
PHYS 161University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 260University Physics II (Mason Core)3
PHYS 261University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 262University Physics III (Mason Core)3
PHYS 263University Physics III Laboratory (Mason Core)1
PHYS 303Classical Mechanics3
PHYS 305Electromagnetic Theory3
PHYS 308Modern Physics with Applications3
Total Credits21

Required Math Courses

MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
MATH 214Elementary Differential Equations3
Total Credits14

Astronomy and Physics Courses

Select 15 credits from the following (at least 12 credits must be from upper-level courses):15
Senior Research
Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation
Thermal Physics
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics
Planetary Sciences 1
Galaxies and Cosmology
Total Credits15

PHYS 428 Relativity, if not taken as part of additional astronomy course requirement above, may be used here.

Mason Core and Elective Credits

In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 54 credits, which may be applied toward any remaining Mason Core requirements (outlined below), Requirements for Bachelor's Degrees, and electives. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors to ensure that they fulfill all requirements.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication6
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology3-7
Core Requirements
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Total Credits40

minimum 3 credits

Honors in the Major


Astronomy majors who have completed the prerequisites for ASTR 405 Honors Thesis in Astronomy I, have a GPA of at least 3.50 in ASTR and PHYS courses taken at Mason, and have a GPA of at least 3.50 in all courses taken at Mason may apply for admission to the astronomy honors program.

Honors Requirements

To graduate with honors in astronomy, a student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.50 in their ASTR/PHYS courses. Students accepted into the honors program must complete ASTR 405 Honors Thesis in Astronomy I and ASTR 406 Honors Thesis in Astronomy II with a GPA of at least 3.50 and a grade of ‘A-’ or better in ASTR 406 Honors Thesis in Astronomy II. Students in ASTR 405 Honors Thesis in Astronomy I/ASTR 406 Honors Thesis in Astronomy II will complete a research project and write a thesis working under the supervision of a faculty member. At the end of ASTR 406 Honors Thesis in Astronomy II, the student will write a substantial thesis paper and make a presentation of results to their honors committee.