What is Astronomy and Astrophysics?

Get a Master's in Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Astronomy and Astrophysics B.S.

The field of astronomy and astrophysics encompasses the study of the universe—ranging from the vastness of space to the smallest of subatomic particles—to better understand it and our place within it.

The astronomy and astrophysics program at Florida Tech focuses on the study of celestial bodies beyond the Earth's solar system, such as stars, planets and galaxies, along with their movements, origins, evolution and the physical and chemical properties that govern their behavior.

Whether you want to study how black holes are formed, examine how stars and galaxies evolve and interact with their surroundings, or delve into the origins of the universe, the astronomy and astrophysics B.S. from Florida Tech will prepare you for high-tech careers in the astronomical sciences and for advanced graduate studies.

Top 17%
Largest Astronomy Programs
By Degrees Awarded - American Institute of Physics
Top 9%
Best Colleges for Physics
in America
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Office of Institutional Research

Why Choose Florida Tech for Astronomy and Astrophysics?

Astronomy and astrophysics at Florida Tech isn't just something you study—it's something you go into the lab or onto the roof (where the telescopes are) and do! Florida Tech students gain scientific skills through hands-on experience in small classes with intensive faculty-student interaction.

Florida Tech’s astronomy and astrophysics program is the first of its kind. Building on that tradition of leadership, today we have one of the largest astronomy programs in the United States in terms of bachelor’s degrees awarded annually—and one of the strongest, in terms of academic and research excellence.

Your classwork is only the beginning. Our students have monitored the Deep Impact Mission’s collision at Kitt Peak National Observatory, worked with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory and helped develop and test new night-vision optics used by the U.S. Army.

Florida Tech is a founding institution and member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), which operates automated one-meter-class telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile and at a facility on the Canary Islands. All are accessed and controlled remotely over the internet.

Small class sizes, with a low student-to-faculty ratio, guarantee one-on-one attention from your professors. Professors strongly encourage students to participate in research projects to gain hands-on observations with our telescopes or work with data from space-based observatories, such as the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes.

Through their research, our internationally recognized faculty study black holes, space plasma, supernovae, active galaxies, exoplanets and stars. Exploring fascinating topics from solar energetic particles to extragalactic astrophysics, they are experts in their fields.

Our 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast, also home to NASA-Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us. Florida Tech’s connections to world-leading aerospace companies such as Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies Inc. allow our students to form valuable networks that lead to future career opportunities.

We’re in Florida’s "High-Tech Corridor" in Melbourne, with numerous high-tech corporations and government and military organizations that provide a variety of internship and employment opportunities located nearby.

There’s also fun to be had in the universe a little closer to home: Florida Tech is just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian River Lagoon and 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. And we have a rich campus life that includes intramural and collegiate sports, clubs and social activities.

Careers in Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Bachelor of Science in astronomy and astrophysics readies you for careers in academia, government and industry, including top space agencies and research institutions involved with space exploration, stellar evolution and research and development.

Astronomy and astrophysics careers include developing new technologies, methods and theories based on the research results that deepen our understanding of how things work. Graduates contribute to innovative, real-world applications in many fields beyond astronomy and astrophysics, ranging from biophysics to nuclear and aerospace engineering, geology and geoscience, and biomedical research, among many others.

Graduates with a B.S. in astronomy and astrophysics can look forward to jobs such as:

  • Astronomers
  • Astrophysicists
  • Data scientists
  • Science educators
  • College and university professors
  • Space engineers
  • Research scientists
  • Science writers
  • Environmental researchers
  • Biomedical researchers

Keep in mind that certain roles may entail additional prerequisites, such as an advanced degree. Astronomy careers are often available immediately upon graduation. However, more than half of astrophysics and astronomy degree students pursue graduate school after graduating from Florida Tech, as this is necessary for jobs in research.

Florida Tech Career Services assists students, alumni, and employers in their search for careers and employee candidates. We help students develop career plans and job-search skills. Explore our Career Toolbox to learn more about our services and access additional resources.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs, including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things. Check the handbook for information on the outlook for physicists and astronomers and other related careers.

Advanced Degree Options

After receiving their astronomy and astrophysics B.S., many of our students continue their graduate studies at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities.

Post-graduate programs our students choose include:

Explore the Astronomy and Astrophysics, B.S., Curriculum

The Astronomy and Astrophysics, B.S., Curriculum

The curriculum of the astronomy and astrophysics major prepares you to pursue a broad range of space-related careers after completing your bachelor’s degree or graduate studies.

The curriculum emphasizes a rigorous education in the basic physical, mathematical and engineering sciences as a foundation for successful entry into any of the subfields of modern space and astronomical science or admission to advanced graduate programs.

Classes include:

  • Observational Astronomy
  • Comparative Planetology
  • Orbital Mechanics

Check the catalog for a description of all courses.

Download the Astronomy and Astrophysics, B.S. Curriculum now!

A student researcher adjusts equipment used in lightning research

Research Opportunities That Reach Into the Unknown

An astronomy and astrophysics student presents her capstone research at the senior design showcase.

While at Florida Tech, you’ll have many opportunities to undertake exciting collaborative research with a peer or professor or work independently in a topic of your choosing.

Astronomy and astrophysics students are encouraged to use Florida Tech’s F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center, which houses the Ortega telescope, to take part in research projects.

These projects entail hands-on observations with our telescopes or working with data from space-based observatories such as the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes or the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

Florida Tech is a founding institution and member of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA). As a member institution, we have regularly scheduled access to telescopes in Arizona, Chile and the Canary Islands, providing excellent research opportunities.

Students enjoy an exciting and enriching research environment working alongside faculty who explore a broad range of interesting topics in astronomy and astrophysics and often involve students in their ongoing research.

Our faculty advance astronomical knowledge and break new ground in cosmology. At the edge of physics and astrophysics they lay out the geometry and framework for tests of quantum gravity using astronomical observations of distant quasars. Through computational astrophysics they work "backwards in time" to learn about supernovae and gamma-ray bursts by studying their remnants and afterglows. They work with high contrast imaging for exoplanet detection and cross-match stellar surveys in radio, IR, and optical.

Valuable research and learning opportunities like these give you real-world experience, help you build a professional network and portfolio, and establish a pathway to future opportunities for employment.

Learn more about Astronomy and Astrophysics at Florida Tech on the website.

An On-Campus Network of Friends and Future Professionals

Beyond the classroom, you can build leadership and professional experience through participation in academic organizations like S3—an organization that comprises the Florida Tech Student Astronomical Society (SAS) and student chapters of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). 

S3 provides an environment where students can learn about astronomy, space and telescopes. It seeks to advance and diffuse knowledge of physics, space sciences and engineering and to encourage interest in space development throughout the academic and local communities. Through conferences, projects and internship opportunities, it introduces students to the professional community and helps them to develop networking and other career skills.

Participating in these and any of our over 200 other student organizations, clubs and honor societies is the perfect way to share interests and network for astrophysics and astronomy internships, research opportunities and potential jobs.

Edit Page