McMicken College of Arts & SciencesMcMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

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Physics (Astrophysics Concentration)

Astrophysics is the study of the structure and evolution of the universe, from the smallest scales measurable to the limits of detectability. It encompasses such diverse areas as the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems, to the chemical evolution of galaxies, to the deep connections between the quantum nature of matter and the large-scale structure of the cosmos.

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Quick Info

Program Code

15BS-APHY

Real-World Learning Components

Optional co-op, Optional internship(s), Research

Duration

4 years

Admission Criteria

Selective

Location

Main Campus

Freshman Class Profile for this Major

GPA
3.044 - 3.660 (4 pt. scale)
ACT
21.0 - 26.0
SAT
980 - 1180

Department

Physics
McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

Contact

400 Geol/Physics
PO Box 210011
Cincinnati,OH  45221-0011
Margaret Hanson
Email: physics.dept@uc.edu
Phone: 513-556-0501

Student Success Factors

The successful student in astrophysics will need to have strong math and writing skills, imagination, the ability to engage in analytic thinking and problem-solving, as well as a keen interest in understanding how the universe works.

Career Possibilities

The study of astrophysics provides excellent training in quantitative and analytical approaches to solving problems. Astrophysics graduates are highly sought for graduate and professional programs in engineering, computer science, law, economics, medicine, business and teaching. The emphasis on modeling and problem-solving, along with the rigorous mathematical background needed for the major, means graduates of this major pursue many different careers.

Graduates have found careers as:

  • Physician
  • Professor/teacher
  • Planetarium operator
  • Researcher
  • Telescope operator
  • Museum curator

Additional careers are possible in space industry, science writing, patent industry, programming, military and biomedical industry.

Additional career options are listed on the Center for Exploratory Studies website.

Major Details

Most of the curriculum is identical to that of the standard physics major and includes courses in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics and quantum physics. In addition, the student is expected to take the introductory course in astronomy and lab, a course in advanced topics in astronomy (generally in the second or third year) and courses in astrophysics in the senior year. The entire degree is expected to take four years to complete.

The UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) offers flexible degree requirements that allow for and highly encourage multiple areas of study. Free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program or even complete a second major. Some of the most common pairings are listed below.

  • Biological sciences 
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Mathematical sciences

Minor Details

The undergraduate minor in physics (concentration in astrophysics) is designed to provide students with a sound introduction to astronomy and astrophysics. It is offered to students in any college at the University of Cincinnati.

 

Course Requirements (32 total credit hours):

 

Required Courses (22 hours):

PHYS 2005-2006, 2005L-2006L, College Physics I & II with Labs, (10 hours)

MATH 1061-1062, Calculus I & II, (8 hours)

MATH 2063, Multivariable Calculus, (4 hours)

 

Astrophysics Core (6 hours):

PHYS 3041, Advanced Topics in Astronomy, (3 hours)

PHYS 4025, Introduction to Astrophysics I, (3 hours)

 

Astrophysics Electives (4 hours):

Additional PHYS course(s) totaling 4 or more credits. PHYS 3041 may be used in the core and repeated as an elective.

 

Click here to declare the minor online

Curriculum

These tools assist students to identify course requirements and individual progress toward completion of academic programs. It is important to utilize these resources with personalized guidance from a UC academic advisor regularly to ensure timely graduation..

My Degree Audit - for confirmed and current students

My Transfer Course Equivalencies - for students considering transfer to UC

UC Schedule of Classes - search course availability and descriptions

Curriculum Guide Versions:

APHY (BS) Curriculum Guide

Predominant Program

    Fall (Year 1)
    • PHYS1020, Astronomy: The Solar System, NS, 3
    • PHYS2005, College Physics I (Calculus-based course for physics majors), QR, NS, 4
    • PHYS2005L, College Physics Lab I (Calculus-based course for physics majors), TI, NS, 1
    • MATH1061, Calculus I, QR, 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Freshman Seminar, if admitted during freshman year, 3
    Spring (Year 1)
    • PHYS1021, Astronomy: Stars & Galaxies, NS, 3
    • PHYS2006, College Physics II (Calculus-based course for physics majors), QR, NS, 4
    • PHYS2006L, College Physics Lab II (Calculus-based course for Physics majors), TI, NS, 1
    • MATH1062, Calculus II, QR, 4
    • ENGL1001, English Composition, EC, 3
    Summer (Year 1)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 2)
    • MATH2063, Multivariable Calculus, QR, 4
    • PHYS3001C, Intermediate Physics I, 5
    • XXXXxxxx, Foreign Language Requirement, 5
    • XXXXxxxx, Social Science (SS) Course, SS, 3
    Spring (Year 2)
    • PHYS3002C, Intermediate Physics II, 5
    • ENGL2089, Intermediate Composition, EC, 3
    • MATH2073, Ordinary Differential Equations, QR, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Foreign Language Requirement, 5
    Summer (Year 2)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 3)
    • PHYS3020, Electricity and Magnetism I, 3
    • PHYS3010, Intermediate Mechanics, 4
    • XXXXxxxx, Social Science (SS) Course, SS, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Humanities (HU) Course, HU, 3
    • HISTxxxx, HIST Course , HP, 3
    Spring (Year 3)
    • PHYS3021, Electricity and Magnetism II, 3
    • PHYS3030, Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics, 4
    • PHYS3041, Advanced Topics in Astronomy, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Interdisciplinary Course, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Historical Perspective (HP) Course, HP, 3
    Summer (Year 3)
    • N/A
    Fall (Year 4)
    • PHYS5011, Advanced Laboratory, 3
    • PHYS4025, Introduction to Astrophysics I, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Humanities (HU) or Fine Arts (FA) Course, HU, FA, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Social & Ethical Issues (SI) or Technology & Innovation (TI) Course - can double count, SE, TI, 0 - 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Free Electives, 6
    Spring (Year 4)
    • PHYS4099, Physics Capstone Project, 3
    • XXXXxxxx, Free Electives , 12
    Summer (Year 4)
    • N/A

UC Advantages and Special Opportunities

Students in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Special Programs

The UC faculty consists of researchers in observational astrophysics, theoretical particle astrophysics and general relativity, and experimental particle physics closely related to astrophysics. The observational astrophysics group has regular access to world-class telescope facilities, such as 3-to-8 meter telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, the Hubble space telescope and the Spitzer space telescope. Undergraduate students are encouraged to work with faculty on research projects with the potential to lead to published papers.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Transferring to UC Requirements

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 at most recent institution
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

Changing Majors Within UC

Admission to A&S is generally available for University of Cincinnati students enrolled in other colleges if they were admissible directly from high school, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in their most recent UC college.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • at least a 2.0 GPA in all college-level courses (both at UC and at other institutions)
  • successfully completed one semester of English composition or its equivalent
  • successfully completed one semester of math with a grade of C- or higher that minimally meets on of the following:
    • Mathematical Literacy (MATH 0029)
    • Intermediate Algebra (MATH 0034)
    • Algebra for College (MATH 0039)
    • Students may also take the UC Math Placement exam, but must score an MPT of 420 or higher

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the UC McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

 

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the college.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).

Accreditation

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.