Every culture on Earth pondered the night sky, making astronomy one of the oldest sciences. But astronomy is also cutting-edge, as new telescopes and spacecraft make exciting discoveries about planets around other stars, the formation of galaxies and the accelerating expansion of the universe.
If you take any astronomy class at Calvin, you’ll get to work with photographs from Calvin’s telescope and have an opportunity to discover an asteroid or a variable star.
Want to go more in depth? Calvin's astronomy minor is a 21-hour program designed to complement a variety of majors. To prepare for a career in astronomy or astrophysics, you should complete a minor in astronomy and a major in physics.
"One of my high school friends introduced me to Calvin and convinced me to visit the physics and astronomy department, and I was amazed by the wide range of opportunities for undergraduate astronomy students. Beginning in my first year at Calvin, I collaborated with physics and astronomy professor Larry Molnar on asteroid research, and that research continued and expanded throughout my Calvin career. I co-authored papers and gave presentations on our project, and in my senior year I traveled to Puerto Rico to present our work to an international audience at a planetary science conference. Calvin gave me the background and experience in physics that allowed me to apply to top graduate programs."
—Melissa Haegert Dykhuis ‘10
See job placement rates for Calvin grads.
Work in the Calvin Astronomical Observatory, operating the telescopes for visitors, class projects and research; write for the Science and Technology section in Chimes; attend seminars on cutting-edge research; enjoy department gatherings at professors' homes
Students interested in a career in astronomy or astrophysics should major in physics, minor in astronomy, and plan their program with D. Haarsma or L. Molnar. The local and remote telescopes and cameras of the Calvin Observatory are available for student use through the director of the observatory.
The physical world core requirement may be met by:
The minor in astronomy has the following course requirements (At least 21 semester hours):
Students pursuing a physics major and astronomy minor must follow college guidelines for overlap between a major and a minor; this is facilitated by the option in the physics major of substituting upper-level courses for introductory ones.
Dollar amounts reflect awards given for the 2012-13 academic year.
Interested in teaching? You can gain certification in Astronomy as a:
Calvin's teacher education program also contains education-specific course requirements that you must complete prior to certification. See course requirements for: