Scientists at the University of Chicago have been unraveling the secrets of the far-flung universe for more than a century, but starting in 2018-19, undergraduates will be able to formally declare a major in astrophysics.
“I am thrilled to see the astrophysics major come to fruition and the interest that it has already generated,” said Angela Olinto, the Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences. “We know our students are proud of the department’s incredible legacy in the field, and we are delighted to deepen that connection with a formal major.”
Previously, students interested in the habits of stars and galaxies would major in physics, which underlies much of the study of the universe, and enroll in elective courses in astrophysics. The new major will continue to require physics coursework, but also feature a central sequence tuned to major topics in astronomy and astrophysics; courses in statistics, computer science and observational techniques useful to prepare for research; and an effort to match students with a research placement by the summer of their second year.
“The new astrophysics major is a splendid addition to an already very strong set of research and teaching programs in the physical sciences,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Given the extraordinary distinction of the Department’s faculty, students will have remarkable opportunities to engage with leading scholars and to encounter path-breaking research about the nature of our universe.”