Physics Major: Astronomy Option (B.S.)

Physics Major: Astronomy Option (B.S.)

UNH students studying outside

What is the astronomy option in physics?

The astronomy option in the physics degree program prepares students for careers as a physicist or astrophysicist, as well as graduate work in astronomy or physics. Students develop the technical skills needed to explore fundamental aspects of the universe, from subatomic particles to the origin of the cosmos. Coursework includes study of modern astrophysics and electives in optics, space plasma physics, nuclear physics or general relativity and cosmology.

Why study physics at UNH?

This program offers introductory physics in a lecture and studio format – an active learning environment that includes group work and labs, all in a single room with a professor and graduate teaching assistants. The style allows for a coherent, connected and supportive experience. One studio course integrates the study of calculus and physics, for a deeper understanding of both subjects. You’ll have many research opportunities with physics faculty and research scientists, working on projects funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and other agencies and organizations. You’ll learn how to approach, analyze and solve complex problems as you develop new technologies, methods and theories that will prepare you for a range of careers in research, engineering and education.

Potential careers

  • Accelerator operator
  • Aerospace sciences
  • Applied optics
  • Engineering research
  • Fluids engineering and research
  • High school physics teacher
  • Materials research
  • Medical physics
  • Physical sciences technician
  • Software engineering
  • Systems engineering


Department of Physics
DeMeritt Hall 237A
9 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2669
Email: Physics 

Curriculum & Requirements

The astronomy option prepares students for professional work as a physicist or astrophysicist, and is the first step towards graduate work in astronomy or physics. It takes full advantage of the wide range of research that UNH has to offer in astrophysics and space science.

University Discovery requirements 1
Bachelor of Science requirements
Physics requirements:
PHYS 400Freshman Seminar1
PHYS 406Introduction to Modern Astronomy4
PHYS 407General Physics I0 or 4
PHYS 408General Physics II4
PHYS 505
PHYS 506
General Physics III
and General Physics III Laboratory
PHYS 508Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics4
PHYS 605Experimental Physics I5
PHYS 615Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics I4
PHYS 616Classical Mechanics and Mathematical Physics II4
PHYS 701Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 702Quantum Mechanics II4
PHYS 703Electricity and Magnetism I4
PHYS 704Electricity and Magnetism II4
PHYS 705Experimental Physics II4
PHYS 710Astrophysics I4
PHYS 795
PHYS 799
Independent Study
and Thesis
or INCO 790
PHYS 799
Advanced Research Experience
and Thesis
CHEM 403General Chemistry I4
or CHEM 405 Chemical Principles for Engineers
MATH 425
MATH 426
Calculus I
and Calculus II
Select one of the following options: 212
Option A:
MATH 525
Linearity I
MATH 526
Linearity II
Option B:
MATH 528
Multidimensional Calculus
MATH 527
Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
MATH 545
Introduction to Linear Algebra
or MATH 645
Linear Algebra for Applications
Computer Programming:
CS 410PIntroduction to Scientific Programming/Python4
or IAM 550 Introduction to Engineering Computing
Electives in Option:
Select one of the following:4
PHYS 708
PHYS 712
Space Plasma Physics
PHYS 720
Nuclear Physics
PHYS 764
General Relativity and Cosmology

By the end of the spring semester of the sophomore year, a student must have a minimum grade of C in each 400- or 500-level course specifically required for the B.S. degree and an overall grade-point average of at least 2.33 in these courses in order to continue in the B.S. program.

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