Astrophysics

Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy that mixes chemistry and physics to study celestial objects, including stars, planets, and galaxies. It differs from astronomy in one key factor: on top of observing and recording, it’s also a predictive art, forming theories on the birth, death, and movements of the small to medium structures within the universe. Cosmology handles the largest structures. Astrophysics is largely only available as a field of study at the doctorate level, but there are a limited number of baccalaureate degrees. The field is considered very competitive.

Baccalaureate

While not the most commonly offered degree, there are several institutions that offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Astrophysics. The curriculum at this level will be math and science heavy, including in advanced calculus, chemistry, and physics. Programs will also typically include computer programming and computational science. In fact, alternatives for a baccalaureate that leads to a doctorate in astrophysics include computer programming, physics, chemistry, or mathematics.

Computer coding is an integral part of being an astrophysicist, so learning it early on will only be beneficial.

Master Level

A Master’s of Science in Astrophysics is typically not required to enter a doctorate program, but it can make a student more competitive. It can also further prepare for the rigors of a PhD program. The curriculum will most likely cover advanced data analysis and test research skills. There is sometimes the option to concentrate in a specific area, such as instrumentation.

Doctorate

A Phd in Astrophysics can take between 3 to 5 years to earn but puts graduates on-par with other astrophysicists. The first few years of the doctorate program will likely include some classes, usually centering around statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and optics. After those are completed, the majority of doctorate programs are spent on dissertation research under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

If staying in academia is the goal, and it often is for astrophysicists, a postdoctoral research appointment, or “Postdoc,” is the next step. Experience is the key factor in the astrophysics field, meaning many individuals will take on a few of these research positions, sometimes considered fellowships, until they’re prepared for an academic faculty position. Outside of academia, astrophysicists often find work in national facilities or government labs.

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Colleges

University of California-Los Angeles

The University of California in Los Angeles, better known as UCLA, is one of 10 campuses in the UC system. With 109 academic departments and more than 125 majors offered, as well as an average of one billion dollars funded for research every year and...

“…

I can definitely say that being at UCLA for about a quarter and one half has literally changed me, and my study habits. This school is competitive and tough, in no light manner. At the same time, if you work hard, the rewards are tremendous, and...

” – Elizabeth from San Pedro, CA
Harvard College

Harvard College is an undergraduate liberal arts school located in Cambridge, MA, within Harvard University. Founded in 1636, this private, very selective, Ivy League college is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and was...

“…

Harvard provides its students freedom. With freedom, it is a student's choice where to go, what to do, and who to surround themselves with. The environment at Harvard is indeed a learning one; not only do I learn in the classroom, but I learn in the...

” – Jasmin
University of California-Berkeley

Founded in 1868, the University of California at Berkeley is the flagship of the University of California system of higher education, with a campus overlooking the San Francisco Bay. UC Berkeley is known for its academic excellence, student activism...

“…

Berkeley is a great school chock full of award-winning, book-publishing, enthusiastic professors who really know their stuff. If you take classes you're really interested in, you'll learn more. Don't forget about office hours, tutoring sessions, and...

” – Karina from Los Angeles, CA
Yale University

Yale University is a large research institution chartered in 1701, making it the third-oldest institution of higher education in the US. On top of the numerous academic undergrad degrees at Yale College, students also have access to Multidisciplinary...

“…

It is hard to limit yourself to only 4 or 5 courses with all that Yale has to offer. It isn't unheard of for very ambitious students to pile on 6 or even 7 at a time! Many classes will push you hard to master the material, but there are always a...

” – Yale '12
Columbia University in the City of New York

Founded in 1754, Columbia University is a private research university located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The urban Ivy League campus houses 17 libraries and 20 schools, which offer upwards of 350 majors, as well as the Cathedral of St. John...

“…

Columbia University is extremely challenging and therefore extremely rewarding. It does not allow you room to be average or mediocre because it encourages excellence. CU will show you what you are made of.

” – Krizia from Fort Bragg, NC
Arizona State University-Tempe

Arizona State University, located in Tempe, Arizona, is a large public university founded in 1886, making it the first higher education institution in the state. ASU also has campuses in downtown Phoenix, in Glendale, a Polytechnic in Mesa, in Lake...

“…

Arizona State was my top choice based on the wide spread of classes offered, the great education, and the world changing young men and woman that have prospered out of ASU. My classes are challenging but with hard work A's are capable. I no longer...

” – Joel from Chandler, AZ
Princeton University

Founded in 1746, Princeton University is a private, highly selective, Ivy League, the fourth oldest higher education institution in the nation, and one of the original nine colonial colleges. Princeton features a liberal arts education in the...

“…

Princeton was my life dream, two months in I have no doubt I made the right choice. I have met so many unique, passionate, and amazing people. My classes are very challenging, but engaging and fun.

” – 2016 Tiger
Michigan State University

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a large public research institution in East Lansing, Michigan, and a multicultural student population representing more than 140 countries. MSU is home to more than 200 areas of study through 17 degree...

“…

The campus, food, organizations, people, academics, and nightlife of Michigan State University are unlike any other. MSU is full of down-to-earth, nice people who want to have fun but also focus on their academics. Though it is a big campus, it is...

” – Lauren from Westland, MI
Baylor University

Founded in 1845 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baylor University is a 4-year Christian institution and the oldest continuously-operating university in Texas. Baylor offers bachelor’s degrees in 128 academic fields of study. As a...

“…

Baylor will keep you busy. You will be learning from the best and the brightest. These professors are not like your High School teachers. They will push you to think critically (even though the subject that you are learning about may not be in...

” – Megan from Allen, TX
Ohio University-Main Campus

The first university chartered by an Act of Congress, Ohio University is a public research institution in southeast Ohio. The Ohio campus hosts nine colleges conferring degrees in over 250 undergraduate and graduate-level fields of study as well as...

“…

Ohio University is a great academic school and I feel I have learned so much in just a year of attending this university. Although, freshman year is based on tier one classes and usually are only review and basics, they are great refreshers and help...

” – Caitlynn from Norwalk, OH
Rice University

Originally founded as the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science, and Art, Rice University is a 4-year private institution in Houston. Rice encompasses six colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over...

“…

Most professors teach well, and expect students to attend lectures and read the assigned material, which leads to good retention of information. Unfortunately, the workload can be somewhat heavy at times, depending on classes taken.

” – Bianca from Angel Fire, NM
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Rutgers University is a public research university, one of the first nine original colonial colleges, and a land grant institution, as well. The largest university in New Jersey, Rutgers maintains 29 schools and colleges between its three campuses...

“…

Although it's a large University, if you're involved you will meet a lot of people and be able to network. As a nursing student: the building is small and apart from the rest of the university but a short walk from George st. where the campus bus...

” – RUNBNursing
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Founded in 1919, the University of Cincinnati is a 4-year public research institution and the second largest university in the state of Ohio. UC is home to 14 colleges and schools conferring degrees and is renowned as the first school to offer a co...

“…

I was delighted to find that most of the professors at UC really know their stuff and they are willing to help if you don't understand them on the first go. However, it certainly is useful to ask around about potential professors. I had a Chemistry...

” – Nathan from Edgewood, KY
Iowa State University

Iowa State University is a public, land-grant university located in Ames, IA. The 1,813-acre campus features 6 undergraduate colleges offering 100+ majors, as well as residence hall, apartment-style, and Greek-life housing options for more than 35...

“…

The college that no really knows what to expects but falls completely in love with. Iowa State offers a wide array of majors and minors along with some of the kindest professors teaching those classes. Without a doubt my home away from home in my...

” – Monica from Naperville, IL
University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains and ranks #90 in National Universities by the U.S. News & World Report. They offer Residential Academic Programs (RAPs), multiple honors programs, and an Education...

“…

I am a psychology major in one of the largest and best psychology departments in the country. Admittedly, there are many schools that have quality psychology departments, but the University of Colorado's is very well equipped for research...

” – Alexandra from Boulder, CO
Tufts University

Tufts University is a 4-year private institution with three campuses in the Boston area. Tufts is home to 12 colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in over 90 academic majors and minors. The school is known for their popular a capella...

“…

There is a reason why college review boards consistently rate Tufts in the top 30 universities in America. The teachers and students alike bring much more to the table than I ever expected. The classes are hard in the way that demands attention and...

” – Gregory John from Somerville, MA
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University stands among the world's most renowned educational institutions, and we tap into our diverse community and world-leading digital technologies across business, engineering, the sciences, the humanities and the arts to chart...

“…

The amount of things you learn throughout your classes is amazing to me. Just this past 2 weeks, I've learned so many things about programming that it has made a noticeable change in how I approach problems.

” – Mathew from Jensen Beach, FL
United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy is located in West Point, NY, with a "mission to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets for a career of professional excellence and sevice to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army." West Point...

“…

the uited sates mlitary aademy is an excellent school that challenges its students not only academically, but socially as well. this is to mold cadets into the best future leaders for the us army. be mindful it is a demanding school overall, but in...

” – benjamin from newark, de
University of Wisconsin-Madison

From its main campus located atop a hilltop in Wisconsin’s state capital, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a 4-year public institution and the flagship campus of the UW system. Founded in 1848 at the same time that Wisconsin achieved statehood...

“…

I have learned so much since I began my schooling at University of Wisconsin-Madison. There is such a variety of classes to choose from which makes it easy for you to find classes that you are interested in. The professors here challenge you to think...

” – Hannah from Andover, MN
University of California-Santa Cruz

Founded in 1965, the University of California-Santa Cruz is a public institution and part of the University of California System. UCSC offers undergraduate degrees in 65 academic majors within departments of Arts, Humanities, Physical Sciences...

“…

Professors here are pretty top notch and I have learned more about people and the world than I could have ever before. The Anthropology department has amazing professors who are there willing to help you succeed and the major adviser Courtney is...

” – Jason from Lodi, CA
University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a 4-year public institution in central Oklahoma. OU offers bachelor’s degrees in 170 academic fields of study. In addition to classroom space, the OU campus hosts the National Weather Center featuring a...

“…

You will learn tons if you attend every class and do everything the professors ask of you. Take accurate notes and read over them after every class before exams. This helps tremendously, especially around finals week.

” – Siobhan from El Paso, TX
Lehigh University

Founded by a local industrialist and philanthropist, Lehigh University is a 4-year private school in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Lehigh is home to colleges of Business, Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Health, and Education granting...

“…

The most striking thing about Lehigh University is it's beautiful sloping campus that is in between the downtown Bethlehem area and South Mountain. Furthermore, the academics at Lehigh are challenging but refreshing for any motivated student...

” – Kaitlyn from Chambersburg, PA
Colgate University

Established in 1819, Colgate University is a selective 4-year private liberal arts institution in central New York State and one of the oldest universities in the northeast. Colgate confers bachelor’s degrees in 56 academic majors and the campus is...

“…

Colgate University is a Liberal Arts school on the top of a hill in the small village of Hamilton NY. It is a place where you are a part of a community and where you are likely to see at least three people you know on the way to class. Most of all it...

” – Yekaterina from Amherst, NY
University of Hawaii at Manoa

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa is a 4-year public university on the island of O’ahu and the flagship campus of the UH System. The largest and oldest of the Hawai’i campuses, UH Manoa confers bachelor’s degrees in 100 academic majors. Additionally...

“…

How much you learn depends on what classes you are taking, what professor is teaching and how much you are studying. In college the classes don't go into as much detail as they did in High School. To make sure you learn all you need to know make sure...

” – Jessica from Lakewood, CO
Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University is a Tier 1 University with higher research activity and rated as having a more selective admissions process. The TCU mission is "to educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the...

“…

Here at TCU they are big on making sure their students know the material and are following through. It might just be my luck but it seems like all my professors really care about thier students and want their students to succeed. This is college so...

” – Evelyn from Pasadena, TX
Williams College

Founded with funding from the estate of a Massachusetts Bay colonist, Williams College is a liberal arts institution in northwest Massachusetts. Williams is home to three divisions of Mathematics & Science, Languages, and Social Sciences conferring...

“…

The professors I've had so far have been very accessible. Definitely take advantage of their office hours, for it's a great place to get all your questions about the material answered. Even when professors' office hour schedules are not compatible...

” – Tiffany from Cupertino, CA
Rochester Institute of Technology

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a 4-year private university of technology, arts, and design in northwest New York State. RIT is home to 11 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees. Additionally, RIT offers a co-op program that...

“…

I am an art major and I was intimidated when I started here. I didn't have experience in all medias and I was afraid that it would leave me behind, but the teachers understand and are willing to take time out of their schedule to help me better...

” – Jessica from Lockport, NY
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s leading university for students who are eager to become creative, aware, and extraordinary global citizens. The sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, Trinity encourages...

“…

The campus is extremely beautiful. Just don't step on the grass! Very scholarly and the people there are very kind.

” – Belle from Douglasville, GA
University of New Mexico-Main Campus

Located near old Route 66 in Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico is New Mexico’s flagship public university. UNM is home to 12 colleges conferring bachelor’s degrees in 94 academic programs and its Health Sciences Center is New Mexico’s largest...

“…

The University of New Mexico is an outstanding school. Not only are you surrounded by a Southwest atmosphere, but you also are being instructed by some of the best professors in the nation. Go Lobos!

” – Kyran from Phoenix, AZ
Illinois Institute of Technology

Created by the merger of Lewis Institute and Armour Institute, The Illinois Institute of Technology is a scientific and technical research institution in Chicago. IIT hosts eight colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 40 fields...

“…

The work load at Illinois Institute of Technology is designed to help students learn and how to use what they learn in the real world. Each and every professor here at IIT are very helpful, the one thing they tell you when you on your first day of...

” – Shatoria from Chicago, IL
California Institute of Technology

The California Institute of Technology is a 4-year private science and engineering university in Pasadena. Caltech confers undergraduate degrees in 28 scientific fields of study. In addition to classroom space, Caltech is home to several research...

“…

You will learn more than you thought was possible. Sometimes it will seem impossible. It isn't.

” – Kimberly from Bloomington, IL
Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania that was founded in 1864. The college was founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and its "most selective" admissions process is also need-blind. The 425-acre...

“…

Swarthmore is a small liberal arts school and is perfect for students who are interested in social justice and diversity. The faculty are very caring and reach out to students with opportunities and advice. Some things that students are working on to...

” – Kelly from Los Angeles, CA
Wellesley College

Founded in 1870, Wellesley College is a 4-year liberal arts college for women in eastern Massachusetts as well as a member of the Seven Sisters Colleges and Three-College Alliance. Wellesley confers undergraduate degrees in over 50 departmental and...

“…

Wellesley is a well-rounded, diverse, open school: the students are pushed to work their hardest, achieve their goals and be amongst the best of the best. Wellesley prepares each of its students to be a leader, one who is able to work successfully...

” – Anonymous from Miami, FL
Barnard College

Founded in response to neighboring Columbia University’s all-male admission policy, Barnard College is one of the oldest women’s colleges in the United States and a member of the Seven Sisters colleges. Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Barnard...

“…

Barnard college is one of the most unique college experiences that exist- partly because of it's location in NYC, partly because of the affiliation with Columbia, and partly because of its existence as a women's college. Being a part of Columbia is...

” – Cassie
Colby College

Founded in 1813, Colby College is a 4-year institution in Waterville, Maine, that serves only undergraduates. The test-optional school promises to meet 100% of demonstrated need through the Colby Commitment so that “the most talented students from...

“…

colby perfectly encompasses the liberal arts with plenty of research and internship opportunities. the campus, people, and staff/faculty are all truly beautiful on the inside and out. people are constantly looking out for you, while still keeping a...

” – Bridget from Eliot, ME
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

With campuses three miles apart, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is the flagship campus with locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minnesota confers bachelor’s degrees in more than 150 academic majors and minors. In addition, the U of M is...

“…

If you are willing to spend the time, the professors are more than willing to help you out. Some of the classes are hard and require after class work, but in the end it's all worth it. They don't restrict you on what you can / can't take. It's up to...

” – Donald from Norwood, MN
Haverford College

Haverford College is a 4-year liberal arts college in the Philadelphia metro area. Founded in 1833 as a Quaker school, Haverford now grants bachelor’s degrees in 29 academic majors and all degrees culminate in a senior thesis research project. With a...

“…

Haverford is has an amazing, creative, insightful atmosphere that contributes to the success of all of its students. Its honor code is not strict-despite the opinions of others, in fact it is open to the ideas and issues that its students bring up...

” – Kayla from Bronx, NY
Whitman College

Located in Walla Walla, Washington, Whitman College is a liberal arts institution chartered in 1883. Today, the Whitman’s residential campus offers more than 35 departments and programs, houses its student body, and doubles as both an outdoor art...

“…

Students simply love to be here. The passion for what they're doing inside and out of the classroom is contagious. It is a truly unique feeling on campus.

” – Rebecca from Seattle, WA
University of Alaska Fairbanks

Originally founded as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public school and flagship campus of the U of A System. The oldest institution of higher-learning in the state, UAF is home to nine...

“…

To say the least, UAF is a unique, culturally diverse University. Fairbanks has opportunities available for students that no other university can offer (ice climbing, anyone?). Small class size and a community atmosphere make UAF the perfect place to...

” – Kate
Ohio Wesleyan University

Established by a local pastor in a former hotel, Ohio Wesleyan University is a liberal arts college in mid-Ohio. OWU confers bachelor’s degrees in over 90 fields of study and more than a quarter of the student body chooses to double major. Throughout...

“…

There is ample opportunity to learn so much at OWU, and not just in class. Yes, OWU, being a small liberal arts college, has a great selection of classes, from the natural sciences and business to women and gender studies and a class completely...

” – Haley from Ohio
Oglethorpe University

Chartered in 1835, Oglethorpe University is a private liberal arts college situated in Brookhaven, Georgia. The Oglethorpe University’s Gothic revival-style campus has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is home to the Crypt of...

“…

The food isn't the bang for the buck but the faculty and EVERYTHING else is awesome!

” – Kiara from Cumming, GA
Franklin and Marshall College

Founded in 1787 thanks to a donation from Benjamin Franklin, Franklin & Marshall College is a 4-year liberal arts college in southeast Pennsylvania. Franklin & Marshall grants undergraduate degrees in 60 academic fields of study. For students who...

“…

I am ABSOLUTELY amazed at how much I have learned at F&M!

” – Tram-Anh from New Holland, PA
Agnes Scott College

Agnes Scott College is a private all-female institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The campus is located in Decatur, Georgia, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Agnes Scott has been called one of the “Seven...

“…

The first-year seminars are very informative. I never thought I would look at food this way. There are a lot of different FYS topics offered for first-years in order to expand the way we think and promote the way we write. The wide range of classes...

” – Kimberly from Marietta, GA
Bennington College

Bennington College is a progressive liberal arts college, the hub at which global opportunities converge, and a launching pad for careers of meaning. Our campus prepares leaders, intellectual change-makers, and artists by empowering them to shape...

“…

I recently had a tour at Bennington College and I also attended an information session. The impression I got was that Bennington College offers students an amazing education for several reasons:
1. Students learn what they want to learn: Students...

” – A high school senior from northern VT

Founded in 1812, Lycoming College is a private, liberal arts institution established in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In order to graduate, each student is required to fulfill an Enhanced Academic Experience, which can consist of a cooperative program...

“…

The faculty at Lycoming College really want you to learn and to succeed in class. They are all open to questions and are willing to do whatever it takes to help you.

” – Jonath from Mifflinburg, PA
St. John's College-Santa Fe

St. John’s College is the third oldest college in the United States and famous for the distinctive Great Books curriculum. Students read over 200 of the greatest books ever written, discuss them in classes of 20 students or fewer, and, instead of...

“…

I'm ALWAYS learning... both the curriculum and the lifestyle of this campus are stimulating and dynamic. There is usually some sort of event going on; there are tons of options with intramurals, and there's a huge array of individuals. Classes always...

” – Isabel from Converse, TX
St. John's College-Annapolis

St. John’s College is the third oldest college in the United States and famous for the distinctive Great Books curriculum. Students read over 200 of the greatest books ever written, discuss them in classes of 20 students or fewer, and, instead of...

“…

At St. John's the program is fixed but the tutors add a specific flavor to each class. In your freshman year you take a course learning about languages which accompanies the learning of Ancient Greek. You also study Euclid's elements and Ptolemy's...

” – Naga from Knoxville, TN

Originally founded to serve the educational needs of a large group of returning World War II veterans, Ohio University Eastern is a regional campus in the OU system. OUE grants 13 bachelor’s and two associate degree programs entirely on campus as...

Ohio University-Chillicothe is the original regional campus in the OU system and the first regional campus in the state. Ohio Chillicothe is home to more than 20 academic programs and foundational courses for degrees offered at other OU campuses. For...

Just a few blocks from the Ohio River, Ohio University-Southern Campus is a regional campus in the OU system. OU Southern offers 30 degree and certificate programs available entirely on campus as well as the opportunity to begin classes in other OU...

“…

I am learning a lot in all of my classes so far, but I would have to say that the classes that I've learned the most in were General Psychology 101 and Math 102. The instructors made sure that EVERY student understood a topic before they progressed...

” – Brittany from Ironton, OH

Ohio University Lancaster is a regional campus in the OU system located southeast of Columbus. OUL offers 12 bachelor’s degree programs on campus including Sport and Lifestyle Studies and Middle Childhood Education as well as the option to begin...

“…

I think the small class size is a great learning environment. I believe student will succeed in a room where they can speak one on one with their professor. The academic, as well as, athletic programs are very strong and are a great place for...

” – Mason from Pickerington, OH

Established in 1946, Ohio University in Zanesville is a public, 4-year institution located in Muskingum County and is one of seven Ohio University campuses and centers. OU Zanesville offers five associate degree programs, 13 bachelor’s degree...

University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is an institution located in the city of the same name. Founded in 1881, the redbrick university is proud of their founding mission, ‘for the advancement of learning and enoblement of life,’ which they still maintain today...