Jul 15, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Astronomy Minor

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science and Engineering

34 credits


Astronomy is the area of science that seeks to understand the objects in the sky, outside the Earth’s atmosphere: the Sun & Moon, planets in our solar system, stars in the Milky Way, other galaxies, and the entire universe. Astronomers study these objects using telescopes, on Earth and in orbit, that detect light across the spectrum, from X-rays to radio waves, using the laws of physics to interpret and understand the observations they collect. 

Why Consider an Astronomy Minor?

The astronomy minor provides a comprehensive introduction to the fields of planetary science, stellar and galactic astronomy, and cosmology (the study of the entire universe). Many students complete the astronomy minor to learn more about the universe around them; Students seeking to pursue a graduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics are encouraged to complete the astronomy minor along with the Physics, BS degree. 

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Kevin Covey
Communications Facility 385A

Department Manager
Heather Greenlaw
Communications Facility 385

 Sample Careers

Astronomer | Telescope Operator | Telescope Engineer | Research and Development Scientist | Data Scientist | Software Developer | Technical Consultant | Educator | Satellite Data Analyst | Science Writer

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Students are advised to declare the astronomy minor as soon as they register for ASTR 315. Declaring the minor allows you to receive important information from the department, priority enrollment into required courses, and benefits such as accounts on department computers and access to department study space. Contact the department office by email (physics@wwu.edu) or in person to receive a link to the form to declare the minor. We will determine which of the courses you have already taken will be applied toward the minor and help you develop a plan of study for the remaining coursework. If you are not sure which program option is for you, we can help.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

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