This 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.
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.
For policies governing all undergraduate programs, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.
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 58 credits in physics and astronomy and 14 credits in mathematics with a minimum GPA of 2.00.
Required Astronomy Courses
|ASTR 124||Introduction to Observational Astronomy||1|
|ASTR 210||Introduction to Astrophysics||3|
|ASTR 401||Computer Simulation in Astronomy||3|
|ASTR 402||RS: Methods of Observational Astronomy (Mason Core) 1||4|
Fulfills the writing intensive requirement.
Required Physics Courses
|Choose one of the following two sequences:||8|
|University Physics I (Mason Core)|
and University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core) (the lab can be taken with, or any time after, PHYS 160)
|University Physics II (Mason Core)|
and University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core) (the lab can be taken with, or any time after, PHYS 260)
|Introductory and Modern Physics I (Mason Core)|
and University Physics I Laboratory (Mason Core) (the lab can be taken with, or any time after, PHYS 170)
|Introductory and Modern Physics II (Mason Core)|
and University Physics II Laboratory (Mason Core) (the lab can be taken with, or any time after, PHYS 270)
|PHYS 251||Introduction to Computer Methods in Physics (Mason Core)||3|
|PHYS 262||University Physics III (Mason Core)||3|
|PHYS 301||Analytical Methods of Physics||3|
|PHYS 303||Classical Mechanics||3|
|PHYS 305||Electromagnetic Theory||3|
Required Math Courses
|MATH 113||Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)||4|
|MATH 114||Analytic Geometry and Calculus II||4|
|MATH 213||Analytic Geometry and Calculus III||3|
|MATH 214||Elementary Differential Equations||3|
|Select 21 credits from the following:||21|
|Galaxies and Cosmology|
or ASTR 409
|The Interstellar Medium|
|Wave Motion and Electromagnetic Radiation|
|Waves and Optics|
|Intermediate Computer Methods in Physics|
|Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics|
|Quantum Mechanics II|
|Nuclear and Particle Physics|
|Planetary Atmospheres and Ionospheres|
Mason Core and Elective Credits
In order to meet a minimum of 120 credits, this degree requires an additional 48 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.
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.
Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information.
- VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
- VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
|Written Communication (ENGH 101)||3|
|Information Technology and Computing||3|
|Social and Behavioral Sciences||3|
|Written Communications (ENGH 302)||3|
Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.
Minimum 3 credits required.
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. Not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements are guaranteed acceptance. Please visit the department for details.
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.