student looks through telescope | degree in Astronomy

Are you interested in the universe beyond our world? A major in astronomy is your ticket to the cosmos, where you’ll study galaxies, astrophysics, physics, and more. You’ll get the chance to work on—and engage in—in-depth research, hands-on experimentation, using state-of-the-art technology.

What You Will Learn

In this program, you’ll learn the fundamental laws governing the natural universe—from quarks to nanoscale electronics to the mechanics of galaxies.

Astronomy gives students many of the same skills as a physicist, plus skills like:

  • digital image processing
  • remote sensing
  • applied spectral analysis

Our program provides the knowledge and skills for graduates to continue successfully on to graduate study.

What It’s Like to Major in Astronomy at Ball State

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in independent study and research, working one-on-one with faculty mentors. You’ll get to conduct research in areas such as the simulation of galaxy collisions, astrobiology, and observation of variable stars.

Through research projects, you gain valuable professional skills and experience working with modern technical facilities and equipment. These include the College of Science and Humanities supercomputing cluster, a 20-inch diameter telescope in the observatory, and more.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is also a member of the SARA consortium that operates three research-grade telescopes located in some of the best sites in the world: southwest Arizona, Chile, and the Canary Islands. Our students (and occasionally high-school students) often make observations with these telescopes and become authors on published scientific papers.

Careers in education and outreach are fostered through the Charles W. Brown Planetarium on campus.

Our department offers several scholarships to students seeking bachelor's degrees, as well as employment opportunities.

Our students have worked as lab assistants and in the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, which features a 52-foot diameter dome – the largest in Indiana.

Our Society of Physics Students (SPS) is an active, student-run club that engages in a number of social and outreach programs.

The SPS organizes cooperative events with organizations on campus, including our annual “Clash of the Sciences” demo competition between physics and chemistry student groups.

As part of your senior capstone experience, you will pursue scientific knowledge on a topic of your choice and hone technical skills that will be attractive to employers in many fields.

We offer research opportunities in:

  • astronomy and astrophysics
  • computational nanoscience
  • condensed matter physics
  • medical physics
  • nanomaterials and devices
  • nuclear and radiation physics
  • particle physics
  • physics education

Learn in the Charles W. Brown Planetarium

As a student, you’ll get to experience the night sky unlike anywhere else in the state. We are home to the Charles W. Brown Planetarium, which is the largest in Indiana.

Major Requirements

This program consists of 66-67 credits in physics, astronomy, and mathematics courses that will prepare you for a career in an astronomy-related field, or further graduate study.

Credits Required

Total: 120

  • Major: 66-67
  • Core Curriculum: 36


A few of the classes you will take include:

  • ASTR 120 The Sun and Stars
  • ASTR 122 Stellar Evolution, Galaxies, and the Cosmos
  • ASTR 330-332 Astronomy & Astrophysics 1-2
  • ASTR 486 Advanced Observational Astronomy
  • ASTR 480 Topics in Modern Astronomy

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Astronomy?

This degree will prepare you for graduate study in astronomy, physics, and related fields. People with a bachelor's degree in astronomy are also qualified for STEM jobs in:

  • observatories 
  • planetariums 
  • national laboratories
  • the aerospace industry

Read about Our Alumni

Paying for Your Education

Department Scholarships

On top of the dozens of funding options offered through Ball State’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, our department awards scholarships to our own students. Find a scholarship.

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now


One of the best ways to understand why Ball State stands out is to come see it for yourself. You can schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Make sure to tell them you’re interested in our program. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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