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Frequently Asked Questions

For any questions not listed or answered below, please email us as If you are a current student, please reach out to us using the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

When will ASTR courses be offered?

ASTR courses will be available for enrollment in Fall 2024. 

Please visit the Course Information page on our webiste for the upcoming academic year's offerings.

Can I change my major to Astronomy & Astrophysics?

Current students will be able to request to change their major at the beginning of the Fall 2024 quarter.

Both Astronomy & Astrophysics majors are not capped, and can be declared online via the Major/Minor tool. You are eligible to change your major after enrolling in your first regular quarter of classes.

Note for Physics majors: Given the overlap in the lower division coursework between the Physics and A&A majors, it should not be an issue if students switch between the majors by the beginning of their junior year.

Before you change into one of our majors, we recommend you do the following:

  • Read about the department's majors and their requirements.
  • Check with your current major department regarding their policy for readmission into their majors (in case you change your mind). For example, majors in the Division of Biological Sciences are capped, and require application into the major.
  • Contact A&A advising through the VAC.

More information on the process of how to change your major can be found here.

What’s the difference between the B.A. and B.S. programs?

The Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy and Astrophysics is intended to give students a detailed background in the full landscape of astronomy and astrophysics while also offering students breadth by requiring courses in other related disciplines.  The intention of the major is to serve students interested in careers in science communication, science outreach, science policy, teaching in the sciences at the K-12 level, or a variety of positions in industry.

The Bachelor of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics offers students an in-depth course of study in the theoretical and experimental underpinnings of modern astrophysical science.  Multiple laboratory courses provide the students with the practical skills to make a smooth transition into advanced research work in astronomy and astrophysics.  This major is intended to prepare interested students for graduate study, but also serves students interested in careers in multiple industries.

You can view detailed information regarding both majors by visiting our website.

What career opportunities are there after graduating?

Undergraduates majoring in Astronomy & Astrophysics pursue a wide range of careers post-graduation. Many continue on to graduate school in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering disciplines, Data Science, or management.  Those who do not go to graduate school usually move into the private sector.  In the private sector, students most commonly enter the tech workforce in areas such as data science, software and computer programming, and project management.  Some also enter the financial sector.  Others students pursue opportunities in K-12 education, science communication and journalism, science policy, or scientific outreach (e.g., working at a science museum).  There is a diverse array of possibilities, not dissimilar to any degree in a STEM field.  If you want more detailed data, the American Institute of Physics has conducted several surveys of students who graduate with both Astronomy and Physics degrees (the outcomes are similar).

At UCSD Astronomy and Astrophysics, we offer many opportunities for students to conduct research at the undergraduate level.  Most of these programs do not happen in conjunction with a company, but rather with faculty or researchers working at UCSD.  We help support undergraduates pursue summer research internships at other universities as well.  Some of these programs are restricted to US citizens, but many are not.  Research with a faculty member at UCSD is open to international students.  If students are interested in pursuing internships with local companies, that is often facilitated by the School of Physical Sciences Student Success Center.

Can AY2023-24 Freshmen become an Astronomy & Astrophysics Major?

Yes, most likely. If you are interested in becoming a B.A. or B.S. major in Astronomy & Astrophysics, you can begin planning by taking the lower division Math and Physics Requirements, which are listed here on our website.

Can I minor in Astronomy & Astrophyiscs if I am majoring in Physics with Astronomy specialization?

Due to the amount of overlap of the specialization and the minor, it is not possible for students that are majoring in Physics with the Astro specialization to minor in A&A.