MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: what are the best schools for majoring in Astronomy?

Date: Sat May 2 11:50:30 1998
Posted By: Pauline Barmby, grad student, Harvard University Astronomy Dept.
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 894058854.As

Hi Kimberly,

There are a lot of schools with undergraduate majors in astronomy, but it's not necessary to major in astronomy if you want to be a researcher in astronomy. Many people major in physics as undergrads before going to astronomy graduate school. See this Careers in Astronomy, a brochure from the American Astronomical Society, for more info on astronomy careers.

With that in mind, if you want to be an astronomer it's probably a good idea to go to college which has astronomers, so you can find out what astronomy research is like. Not all places have separate astronomy departments; sometimes astronomers are in the physics or mathematics departments. Here are lists of astronomy departments worldwide: (including my alma mater, the University of British Columbia). Both lists look pretty complete to me, but if there's a particular college you're interested in you should check that college's webpage directly - the Yahoo list is a good place to start.

Good luck in your search for a college!

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