Astrophysics Major and Minor

Lower Division Requirements for the Astrophysics Major and Minor

Required courses:

  • Math 1A/1B
  • Math 53/54*
  • Physics 7A/B/C or Physics 5A, 5B/5BL, 5C/5CL

The lower-division courses highly recommended but not required are:

  • Astro 7A/7B
  • Astro 98 (Python DeCal)
  • Data 8 CS 61A/Physics 77/Physics 88

All required prerequisites need to be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum GPA of 2.0. We require a C- or better in all our lower prerequisite classes.

* Please note: Physics 89 is a requirement for the physics major (replaces Math 54). Therefore, students who are planning a double major or a minor with Astrophysics and Physics are required to complete Physics 89 in lieu of Math 54.  If you have taken a Math 54 equivalent before transferring into Berkeley, you may take Phys 89 pass/no pass.

Important Notes:

  • Astro 7A and 7B are recommended prerequisites for all upper-division courses. 
  • The 30 unit requirement (or 24 units for double majors with another major) is the sum of astronomy upper division courses and the electives.
  • Lower-divison prerequisites must be satisfied (please see list on our Declaring the Major page) with a minimum GPA of 2.0. We require a C- in all our lower prerequisite classes. 
  • Upper division courses and electives need to be taken for a letter grade. We require a C- or better in all our upper division classes..

Astrophysics Major Upper Division Requirements

30 units of required upper division courses; 24 units for double majors

Undergraduates wishing to major in Astrophysics must complete the following courses:

Required (choose one):

Astro 120
Astro 121
Astro 128

Required (choose two):

Astro 160
Astro C161
Astro C162

Required (take a minimum of 18 units OR 12 units if you are a double major):

Upper division electives (see below for complete list of eligible courses)

Astrophysics Minor Upper Division Requirements

17-20 units of required upper division courses

Undergraduates wishing to minor in Astrophysics must complete the following courses:

Required (take a minimum of two):

Astro 120
Astro 121
Astro 128
Astro 160
Astro C161
Astro C162

Required (take a minimum of three):

Upper division electives (see below for complete list of eligible courses)

Course List and Prerequisites

The following is a list of course prerequisites for the Astrophysics major and minor required courses.

Courses

Required Prerequisites

Recommended Prerequisites

Astro 7A*

Physics 7A/B**  OR Physics 5A/B***
Math 1A/B

Python DeCal OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 (+co-requisite Data 8) OR
Computer Science (CS) 61aPython DeCal OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 (+co-requisite Data 8) OR
Computer Science (CS) 61a

Astro 7B*

Physics 7A/B/C** OR Physics 5A/B/C***
Math 1A/B

Python DeCal OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 (+co-requisite Data 8) OR
Computer Science (CS) 61a

Astro 120

Physics 7A/B/C**  OR Physics 5A/B/C***
Math 54** OR Physics 89**

Astro 7A/B

Python DeCal OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 (+co-requisite Data 8) OR
Computer Science (CS) 61a

Astro 121

Physics 7A/B/C  OR Physics 5A/B/C***
Math 54** OR Physics 89**

Astro 7A/B
Physics 110A/B

Python DeCal OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 (+co-requisite Data 8) OR
Computer Science (CS) 61a

Astro 128

Astro 160/161**
Math 53
Math 54 / Physics 89

Data 8/100 OR
Physics 77 OR
Physics 88 OR
Python Decal OR
CS 61a OR
CS 88

Astro 160

Physics 7A/B/C  OR Physics 5A/B/C***

Astro 7A
Physics 112
Physics 137A

 

 

Astro C161

Physics 7A/B/C  OR Physics 5A/B/C***

Astro 7B
Physics 112
Physics 137A/B

Astro C162

Physics 7A/B/C  OR Physics 5A/B/C***

Astro 7A
Physics 112

* These courses are not required but strongly recommended for anyone considering the Astrophysics major. 
** Prerequisite Course can be taken concurrently.
***Instead of the Physics 7 series students can opt to take the Physics 5 series.

Summary of Upper-Division Electives

Below is a list of elective courses applicable to the study of Astrophysics. Check the course catalog for any prerequisites or other requirements.

DEPARTMENT

COURSES

Chemistry

  • 104A/B Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • 105 Instrumental Methods of Analysis 
  • 108 Inorganic Synthesis and Reactions 
  • 12A/B Organic Chemistry
  • 120A/B Physical Chemistry
  • 122 Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy 
  • 125 Physical Chemistry Laboratory 
  • 143 Nuclear Chemistry 

Computer Science

  • 160 User Interface Design and Development 
  • 164 Programming Languages and Compilers
  • 169 Software Engineering 
  • 184 Foundations of Computer Graphics 
  • 186 Introduction to Database Systems 
  • 188 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence 
  • 189 Introduction to Machine Learning

Data Science

  • C100 Principles & Techniques of Data Science
  • C140 Probability for Data Science

Earth and Planetary Science

  • 108 Geodynamics
  • 109 Computer Simulations in Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • 113 Biological Oceanography and Biogeochemistry
  • 122 Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 
  • C181:  Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics

Electrical Engineering 

  • 118 Introduction to Optical Engineering
  • 120 Signals and Systems 

Mathematics

  • 104 Introduction to Analysis
  • 110 Linear Algebra
  • 113 Introduction to Abstract Algebra
  • 121A/B Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
  • 128A/B Numerical Analysis
  • 160 History of Mathematics 
  • 185 Introduction to Complex Analysis 

Mechanical Engineering

  • 106 Fluid Mechanics

Nuclear Engineering

  • 100 Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Technology

Physics

  • 105 Analytical Mechanics
  • 110A/B Electromagnetism and Optics
  • 111 Modern Physics and Advanced Electrical Laboratory
  • 112 Introduction to Statistical and Thermal Physics
  • 129 Particle Physics
  • 137A/B Quantum Mechanics
  • 139 Special Relativity and General Relativity
  • 141A/B Solid State Physics
  • 142 Introduction to Plasma Physics
  • 151 Order-of-Magnitude Physics
  • 188 Bayesian Data Analysis and Machine Learning for Physical Sciences (previously 151)

Statistics

  • 134 Concepts of Probability
  • 135 Concepts of Statistics 
  • C140 Probability for Data Science 
  • 153 Introduction to Time Series  

Undergraduate Advising

Brianna Franklin, the Department of Astronomy’s Undergraduate Advisor, is available to answer your questions about the Astrophysics major and other undergraduate matters.

Email: bfranklin@berkeley.edu
Office: 501 Campbell Hall
Advising: Please use CalCentral to make an appointment with Brianna!

Join our Piazza page: ASTRO 101

Join our prospective mailing list: prospective+subscribe@astro.berkeley.edu

 

Undergraduate Faculty Advisor

Eugene Chiang is the Department of Astronomy’s Undergraduate Faculty Advisor. He is available to assist with issues that arise during your time as an undergraduate student in the Astrophysics program; Professor Chiang is a great resource for explanations pertaining to the content of courses.

Emailechiang@astro.berkeley.edu

Undergraduate FAQs

Prospective and current students! Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions here: FAQs

Still have questions? Reach out to undergraduate advisor, Brianna Franklin, at bfranklin@berkeley.edu