- Honors in the Major
- Preliminary and Career Advising
- Can An Engineering Student Earn An Additional Major In Astronomy?
- Opportunities to Expand Skills and Interests
Students wishing to receive Honors in the Major must satisfy the following requirements:
- A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in all 300 or higher level courses is required for the major.
- Completion of four 300 or higher level astronomy courses with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.
- Completion of a Senior Honors Thesis (Astron 681/682) with a grade of AB or better. Students wishing to pursue Honors in the Major should contact the undergraduate advisor to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.
- Complete the Honors In The Major Form and obtain signatures from the Astronomy Faculty Advisor.
- Note: Astronomy Department Honors in the Major students are not required to be in the L&S Honors Program.
For major and career information, please email Evan Heintz, the Astronomy Academic and Career Advisor, to schedule an appointment. Evan can also assist students with curriculum and course scheduling, career planning and connections, academic concerns, and overall performance and strategies.
- Astronomy Major Handout for current and potential Astronomy Majors.
An undergraduate in the College of Engineering who has filled out the Astronomy Major Declaration Form is required to take a copy of the form to the College of Engineering Dean’s Office to obtain formal approval to add a major in L&S. Once approval has been granted by the Dean’s Office, the major will appear on the DARS report.
- Research: Our Department has opportunities for undergraduates to hold paid research positions, write a senior thesis, or take a 699 Directed Study course. To get involved in research projects, view our faculty areas of interest to identify a specific faculty member or area of research that interests you. Contact the Undergraduate Faculty Advisor, who will then assist you in finding a faculty member to work or study with.
- Present Research at UW Undergraduate Symposium or the AAS.
- Tutoring: Students are encouraged to utilize campus resources to receive peer support, such as the Physics Learning Center.
- Summer REU: Summer REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) opportunities are funded by the NSF. Sites are located here and abroad.
- Astronomy Department Workshops and Events: Throughout the academic year the Department hosts an open house, seminars on applying to graduate school or REU programs, and other academic and career events.
- Astronomy Colloquium: The Astronomy Colloquia on Thursday at 3:45 PM in 4422 Sterling is highly recommended for our undergraduate majors. The event begins at 3:30 with a social period, allowing you to meet and converse with faculty and graduate students. The talk is presented to a group with widely varying interests, therefore the material is conveyed in a more general fashion, with questions to the speaker encouraged. Those with astrophysical interests at all levels of experience can enjoy an informative and supportive interaction in an environment of academic inquiry.
- Informative Emails: Emails are sent to our majors during the year informing them of REU, PhD and summer school programs and deadlines, paid grader and tutor positions, Stem Fairs, internships, research opportunities, science writing contests, Cool Science Image Contests, AAS Poster Deadlines, and more.
- Undergraduate Bulletin Board: The undergraduate bulletin board is on the 3rd floor of Sterling. Check it regularly for information on free software training, graduate school and REU opportunities, paid tutoring positions, and more.
- Undergraduate Lounge: Stop in at the Undergrad Lounge in 3527 Sterling to study with other majors, or just visit.
- The Astronomy Club: Get involved: organize and host movies, talks, study groups, or anything you think is of interest.
- Attend UW Career Fairs: Attend L&S Career Services Career and Internship Fairs to network and practice interview skills.
The Astronomy Major Experience
As an Astronomy major, the world becomes your school and your workplace. Whether it is through remote observing facilities in the Department or traveling to WIYN (Kitt Peak in Arizona), SALT (Sutherland, South Africa) or other observatories, our majors have the possibility of a broad variety of observing experiences before they graduate. Along the way, some students may also become involved with building instruments, learning electronics, materials fabrication, machining, and other skills.
NASA STUDENT PROGRAMS
Consider applying for a NASA summer program or scholarship. Some of these programs occur only at NASA centers, but others are designed to support students at universities.
AMERICAN ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY MEETING:
Undergraduates working with research projects in the department may have the opportunity to attend a AAS meeting to present a poster, meet with others working in their area of interest, and discuss the research project they are involved with.
ASTRONOMY DEPARTMENT WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS:
Prepare for your future through workshops and events offered by the Astronomy Department. You can also volunteer to assist with these events.
Visit the Astronomy Club at UW-Madison on Facebook for information on planned meetings and events including astronomy movies, viewing the Orionids meteor shower at Pine Bluff Observatory, interesting presentations and talks, and other activities. The Astronomy Club is open to UW-Madison Undergraduate and Graduate/Professional students, majors, and non-majors with an interest in astronomy.
SCHOLARSHIP AND AWARD OPPORTUNITIES:
Briana received several awards, including the Lowell Doherty Award listed below. Please see the following UW sites for scholarship and award opportunities: Undergraduate Research Opportunities and Awards, the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office, Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH), and Scholarships at UW-Madison.
SOME AWARDS ASTRONOMY MAJORS HAVE RECEIVED:
-Lowell Doherty Award for Excellence in Astronomy: Recognition of a graduating senior’s exceptional performance in astronomical research and in the classroom as an Astronomy-Physics major.
-Fay Ajzenberg-Selove Award: In support of undergraduate women majoring in or planning to major in astronomy, physics, or astrophysics.
–Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowship
-Bernice Durand Award: In support of undergraduate women and ethnic minorities in physics and astronomy. Students must have completed 3 semesters intro classical and modern physics or its equivalent. A Research Statement is required.
–Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Research Award: Awards are based upon a commitment to space related studies and an indication of an on-going or a proposed program of undergraduate space-related studies.
–Physics Department Awards and Scholarships
-Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation: If you are interested in receiving a Goldwater Scholarship, you must be nominated for the award by your institution. Most academic institutions have a Goldwater Campus Representative and it is this individual who submits your nomination on behalf of your academic institution. You may not apply directly for the scholarship. The UW-Madison Campus Representative is Julie Stubbs, email@example.com.
-Sophomore Research Fellowship: Funded by grants from the Brittingham Fund and the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest, the Sophomore Research Fellowships support undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. The student researcher receives $2,500, and faculty/staff research advisor receives $500 to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, student travel related to the project).