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International :01 Jan 

BA Astronomy

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Astronomy
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course


Astronomy is, at once, the oldest science and one of the most vibrant fields of modern research. Its goal is to construct testable, quantitative, coherent models of the universe (the UNIty of the diVERSE) and its contents-galaxies, stars, and planets. The department offers two majors, both of which require a solid grounding in the mathematics and physics necessary for the pursuit of the discipline.

The astrophysics major is designed as preparation for graduate study and consists of a standard physics major sequence; a yearlong introduction to astrophysics (typically taken in the sophomore year, but open to first-years with adequate preparation in calculus and physics); and two required courses covering advanced topics in astronomy. Research, in the form of summer internships and/or term-time independent projects, which can lead to a senior thesis, is strongly encouraged. For a research thesis, students should enroll in the parallel, two-semester sequence ASTR UN3997-ASTR UN3998 Independent Research , preferably in their senior year. Students begin the research project in the fall and complete the written thesis in the spring. ASTR UN3997 and ASTR UN3998cannot be repeated for credit.

The astronomy major provides a basis for further study in the field, but is also designed to be compatible with liberal arts students who pursue other careers and those wishing to combine astronomy with related sciences other than physics, such as chemistry or geology. It requires only two physics courses beyond the introductory sequence and can be completed easily if begun in the sophomore year.

The department offers numerous introductory astronomy courses at the 1000-level that do not have prerequisites. The calculus-based ASTR UN2001 Introduction To Astrophysics, I-ASTR UN2002 Introduction To Astrophysics, II  sequence is recommended for astronomy majors and concentrators and is required for astrophysics majors.

Most 3000-level courses, as well as ASTR GU4260 Modeling the Universe, are offered every other year. Students should inquire with the director of undergraduate studies if they have specific questions on the course schedule. ASTR UN3996 Current Research in Astrophysics is a one-point course offered in the fall, designed to introduce majors to research methods and topics. It requires students to attend the department colloquia and a seminar designed to help students understand the colloquium topic. The 3000-level courses need not be taken in any particular order.

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Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

Major in Astronomy

The major requirements, to be planned with the director of undergraduate studies, are as follows:

Calculus sequence through MATH UN1202 Calculus IV or MATH UN1208 Honors Mathematics IV  
Select one of the following options:  
Option 1:
Two 3-point 1000-level astronomy courses
12 points in astronomy at the 2000-level or above
Option 2:
 - ASTR UN2002
Introduction To Astrophysics, I
and Introduction To Astrophysics, II
9 points in astronomy at the 3000-level or above
Select one of the following physics sequences:  
Sequence 1:
 - PHYS UN1402
 - PHYS UN1403
Introduction To Mechanics and Thermodynamics
and Introduction To Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics
and Introduction to Classical and Quantum Waves
Sequence 2:
 - PHYS UN1602
 - PHYS UN2601
Physics, I: Mechanics and Relativity
and Physics, II: Thermodynamics, Electricity, and Magnetism
and Physics, III: Classical and Quantum Waves
Sequence 3:
 - PHYS UN2802
Accelerated Physics I
and Accelerated Physics II
Additional Physics Courses  
Two physics courses at the 3000-level or above  

Students contemplating graduate study are advised to include at least two of these physics courses:

PHYS UN3003 Mechanics  
PHYS UN3007 Electricity and Magnetism  
Quantum Mechanics
and Quantum Mechanics II

One of these may be substituted for 3 points of astronomy.

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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