Astronomy (ASTR) and Astrophysics

Astronomy (ASTR) and Astrophysics

Department Website: https://smu.ca/academics/departments/astronomy-and-physics.html

Department Email: chair@ap.smu.ca

Astronomy courses are offered by the Department of Astronomy and Physics

Note: This segment lists undergraduate courses in Astronomy and programs in Astrophysics only. Course and program descriptions for physics may be found in the Physics (PHYS) segment of Section 4 in this Calendar while graduate course descriptions and programs in astronomy may be found in the Graduate Academic Calendar.

Degree Programs in Astrophysics

Because all modern-day astronomers are also physicists, no undergraduate degree in astronomy alone is offered. Instead, the Department offers three programs in astrophysic; a major, an honours and a minor. The astrophysics major program is designed for those who want a solid foundation in modern physics and astronomy, but who are not necessarily planning to continue their education beyond the B.Sc. The astrophysics honours program is designed for those who intend to continue on to graduate school, and involves the preparation of an honours thesis (PHYS 4790) under the supervision of a faculty advisor in their fourth year. As listed below, these two programs are identical through the second year meaning students need not commit to the honours program until the third year of study. Note also, as listed, these programs conform to the requirements of the Science faculty as outlined in Section 3.


Major in Astrophysics – Requirements:
The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Major apply as listed in this Academic Calendar under the heading Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science - Major in Section Three. The specific list of the fifty-seven (57) credit hours (specifically eighteen (18) credit hours in ASTR and thirty-nine (39) credit hours in PHYS) required to satisfy 6 (d) are contained in the following list of required Science courses for the program:

Honours in Astrophysics – Requirements:
The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours apply as listed in this Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science – Honours, Section Three. Students must secure a supervisor for the honours thesis (PHYS 4790) before applying to the honours program. The specific courses that make up the total seventy-eight (78) credit hours required in the honours subject (specifically twenty-one (21) credit hours in Astronomy and fifty-seven (57) credit hours in Physics) are included in the following list of required Science courses for the program:


Minor in Astrophysics - Requirements
The requirements for a Minor in Astrophysics are the same as those listed for Bachelor of Science – Major and Minor in Section Three of this Academic Calendar. The following Science courses are required for the Astrophysics Minor. A total of thirty (30) credit hours in the minor subject are required, specifically twelve (12) credit hours in Astronomy and eighteen (18) in Physics as follows:

  • ASTR 1100 Introduction to Astrophysics
  • PHYS 1210 University Physics I
  • PHYS 1211 University Physics II
  • PHYS 1500 Introduction to Modern Physics
  • ASTR 2100 Foundations of Astrophysics
  • ASTR 2400 Physics of Stars
  • PHYS 2302 Mechanics I
  • Three (3) credit hours in ASTR at the 3000 level
  • Six (6) credit hours in PHYS at the 2000 or 3000 level.