Astronomy: Summary of Coursework

The job market for astronomers may be average, but the skills you learn in your astronomy courses will qualify you for a variety of other career fields in the scientific community. Get a summary of astronomy coursework here.

Astronomy Coursework Overview

There is much more to astronomy than observing the planets through a telescope. This science is the study of anything related to the universe, which includes more than just the study of planets. For instance, anything affected by the sun is included in your astronomy coursework. Astronomy programs are available at the bachelor's and master's levels, but you'll need a PhD to work as an astronomer.

Required Coursework

In your astronomy classes you will learn about the formation and development of the universe and celestial objects, including their evolution. Along with that, you will learn a multitude of sciences, especially physics. Other subjects can include chemistry, geology and biology. Common courses include:

  • The Solar System
  • Astrophysics
  • Space exploration
  • Cosmology
  • Astronomical instrumentation
  • Star and planet formation
  • Quantum mechanics

Skills Obtained

After completing the necessary astronomy coursework, you will have developed an assortment of skills necessary to achieve your career goals. You will also be well-versed in:

  • Science
  • Math
  • Technology
  • Research methods
  • Critical thinking
  • Scientific observation

Career Information

An astronomy degree can open doors in the astronomy and space science fields. Bachelor's degree graduates can find employment in science writing, scientific computing or teaching. With a PhD or master's in astronomy you can work in a variety of science related fields or at organizations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). You might find employment as an observational or theoretical astronomer. You could also qualify for a postsecondary teaching or research position with a doctorate.

Job Outlook and Salary

Astronomers are expected to see average growth of 10% from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Federal funding often plays a direct role in the availability of jobs in this field, and funding is not expected to grow as fast for astronomers. If you plan to work at a university performing research, you can expect strong competition for jobs. The median annual salary for astronomers in 2012 was $106,360, the BLS reports.

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