Schools, Departments & Programs



The Department of Astronomy (AST) offers 100-level courses for non-astronomy majors, a minor in astronomy and astrophysics, and B.A. and B.S. degrees in astronomy and astrophysics. Topics covered in courses and research programs include our solar system (Sun, planets, asteroids, and comets), the life cycles of stars, exoplanets, star clusters, our Milky Way galaxy, other galaxies and clusters of galaxies, the large-scale distribution of both luminous and dark matter in the universe, and cosmology.

Astronomers study the entire universe-its past, present and future. Our courses, minor, and degree programs offer training in creative, disciplined, and quantitative analytical thinking that is valuable for a great variety of careers. Fields that our degree recipients have gone into include astronomy, physics, law, medicine, nursing, imaging science, the military, science writing, science education and outreach, computer science and computing in business and industry, teaching at a variety of levels, and business and industry.

Students in Astronomy confront fundamental questions about the nature of our universe and our place in it. Majors use telescopes at campus observatories. Ambitious majors might use and/or analyze data from the Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO Observatories, other ground-based observatories, and space-borne observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Students also use the extensive computing facilities in Swain Hall.  The B.A. major is designed for students who are interested in astronomy as the subject of a liberal arts education, and allows great flexibility in the selection of courses because the focus is on breadth of knowledge rather than on depth or specialization. The B.S. major focuses more on depth of knowledge, and as such prepares students for graduate study and a subsequent career in astronomy and astrophysics, and also for careers in related technical fields.

Majors, Minors, and Programs
Contact Information

Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Indiana University
Swain West 318
Bloomington, IN 47405

(812) 855-6911
astdept [at] indiana [dot] edu