Physics BS, Astrophysics Emphasis

General Education Requirements

Majors must complete the university and college general education requirements. Any of the following courses may be used to satisfy the physical science requirement:

ASTRON 1001Cosmic Evolution Introductory Astronomy3
ASTRON 1011Planets and Life in the Universe3
ASTRON 1012The Violent Universe and the New Astronomy3
ASTRON 1050Introduction to Astronomy I (MOTR ASTR 100)3
ASTRON 1051Introduction to Astronomy II3
ATM SCI 1001Elementary Meteorology3
GEOL 1001General Geology3
GEOL 1002Historical Geology3
PHYSICS 1001How Things Work (MOTR PHYS 100)3
PHYSICS 1011Basic Physics I3
PHYSICS 1011LBasic Physics I Laboratory1
PHYSICS 1012Basic Physics II3
PHYSICS 1012LBasic Physics II Laboratory1
PHYSICS 2111Physics: Mechanics and Heat4
PHYSICS 2112Physics: Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics4

Declaring the Physics Major

Students seeking to major in physics are first designated as ‘pre-physics majors’ until they have completed both PHYSICS 2111 and PHYSICS 2112 or equivalent courses. Upon successful completion of PHYSICS 2111 and PHYSICS 2112 with grades of C- or better, students will be allowed to declare physics as their major. Each of these courses must be completed successfully within two attempts.

Degree Requirements

All physics majors in all programs must complete the physics core curriculum with the exception that majors pursuing the Physics Education option are not required to take PHYSICS 1099 and CMP SCI 1250. In addition to the core courses, each individual program has its own specific requirements. Required Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computer Science courses for a major or minor in physics may not be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading basis.

Core Curriculum
The following physics courses are required: 23
Windows on Physics
Physics: Mechanics and Heat
Mechanics and Heat Laboratory
Physics: Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics
Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics Laboratory
Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics
Electricity and Magnetism
Introduction to Modern Physics I
Also required are: 26
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
Introduction to Differential Equations
Introductory Chemistry I (MOTR CHEM 150L)
Introduction to Computing
Total Hours49

Note: Students are urged to begin the calculus sequence [MATH 1800, Analytic Geometry and Calculus I] as soon as possible to avoid delays in graduation.

Students with experience in digital computer programming may be excused from CMP SCI 1250.

Astrophysics Option

Students who have interests in the aerospace sciences or anticipate graduate studies in astrophysics may elect this option. At least 48 hours must be taken. In addition to the core curriculum, the following physics courses are required:

PHYSICS 4323Modern Optics3
PHYSICS 4331Intro to Quantum Mechanics3
PHYSICS 4341Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYSICS 4350Computational Physics3
ASTRON 1050Introduction to Astronomy I (MOTR ASTR 100)3
ASTRON 1051Introduction to Astronomy II3
ASTRON 4301Astrophysics3
ASTRON 4322Observational Astronomy4
Select one physics elective at or above the 4000 level. 13
MATH 2450Elementary Linear Algebra3
Total Hours31

Program Purpose

The purpose of the B.S. in Physics (Astrophysics Option) program at the University of Missouri at St. Louis is to prepare students for a professional career in astrophysics or a related field, or for graduate studies in astrophysics.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic physics concepts including classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, modern optics, and quantum mechanics
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic principles and concepts of modern astrophysics and observational astronomy
  • Students will be able to perform astronomical observations, reduce and critically interpret their data
  • Students will be skilled in problem-solving, critical thinking and analytical reasoning as applied to scientific problems
  • Students will be proficient in both written and oral communication of the results of scientific work
  • Students will have the skills necessary for conducting original scientific research as part of a problem-solving team
  • Students will have the skills necessary to identify possible errors in scientific data, and to assess the significance of observed results

Sample Four Year Plan

First Year
INTDSC 100311ASTRON 10513
PHYSICS 10991MATH 18005
CHEM 11115CORE - US History and Government3
MATH 10303EXPLORE - Social Sciences3
MATH 10352 
ENGL 11003 
 15 14
Second Year
MATH 19005MATH 20005
ASTRON 10503MATH 24503
CMP SCI 12503CORE - Communication Proficiency3
 16 16
Third Year
MATH 20203PHYSICS 43413
EXPLORE - Humanities and Fine Arts3PHYSIC/ASTRON 4XXX Physics or Astronomy Course3
Cultural Diversity Requirement3EXPLORE - Humanities & Fine Arts3
 15 15
Fourth Year
PHYSICS 43313ASTRON 4301 or 43223
PHYSICS 4XXX Physics or Astronomy Course3EXPLORE - Humanities and Fine Arts3
ENGL 31603EXPLORE - Social Sciences3
EXPLORE - Social Sciences3Elective or minor2
 15 14
Total Hours: 120

Please Note: This plan is an example of what a four year plan could look like for a typical student. Placement exam scores in math as well as the completion of coursework may change the plan. It should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor each semester. All requirements are subject to change.