Research Opportunities

Prospective Students


Why The Department of Physics & Astronomy?


If you like mathematics, computing, experiments, and wish to contribute to the future progress of humankind, the exciting intellectual adventure of physics or astronomy at the University of Utah will maximize your career options.

Our program is one of the most rigorous at the University and our students and faculty are exhilarated by the difficult challenge of figuring out how the world works! Studying Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics is a very effective way to develop imagination, as well as critical and abstract thinking, whether or not you aspire to a career in science or technology. In addition, it is important to develop a solid understanding of principles that govern science and technology, so that as a society of well-informed citizens, we can make rational decisions on important issues, even as the pace of scientific and technological development continues to increase dramatically.

Students and their families wishing to learn more about what the Department of Physics & Astronomy has to offer, should contact our advisor:

Tamara Young
202 JFB
Phone: (801) 581-7910

» About the U
» About the Department of Physics & Astronomy
» About our Undergraduate Program
» How to Apply
» Undergraduate Handbook (Degree Requirements)
» Frequently Asked Questions
» Prepare for College
» Physics & Astronomy Course Descriptions
» Academic Advising

Astronomy Minor

Astronomy is a profound and fundamental science that has never ceased to fascinate the general public and attract the imagination of students. An astronomy major program is under development and currently we offer our students the opportunity to explore astronomy and astrophysics through a minor degree program. The intent is to provide sufficient background to enable a student with both an astronomy minor and a pre-professional physics major to pursue graduate work in astronomy and astrophysics.

Requirements for Minor

Astronomy minors must complete all general education and College of Science requirements and have a GPA of at least 2.0 in physics, astronomy and mathematics courses combined. All physics, astronomy and mathematics courses must be passed with at least a C- grade. The credit/no credit option may not be elected for any course used to fulfill the degree requirements for an astronomy minor.

To obtain an undergraduate minor in astronomy, a student must complete at least 17 hours of approved course work, consisting of the following required and recommended courses. Students may obtain proposed minor approval from the academic adviser: 202 JFB, (801) 581-7910.

Astronomy Course Listings (all are also available and cross-listed as Physics courses)

  • ASTR 1050: The Solar System
  • ASTR 1060: The Universe
  • ASTR 1080: Does ET Exist?
  • ASTR 1090: Mars for Earthlings
  • ASTR 2060: Popular Observational Astronomy
  • ASTR 2500: Foundations of Astronomy
  • ASTR 3060: Introduction to Astrophysics
  • ASTR 4060: Observational Astronomy for Scientists
  • ASTR 4080: Introduction to Cosmology
  • ASTR 5015: Observational Methods & Data Analysis
  • ASTR 5570: Galactic Astronomy and Stellar Populations
  • ASTR 5580: Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology [Honors]
  • ASTR 5590: Stellar Astrophysics [Honors]

Required Astronomy Minor Courses

  • ASTR 2500: Foundations of Astronomy (3 credits)
  • ASTR 3060: Introduction to Astrophysics (3 credits)

Two courses from the following options:

  • ASTR 4060: Observational Astronomy for Scientists (3 credits)
  • or
  • ASTR 5015: Observational Methods & Data Analysis (3 credits)
    (students may take both courses but only one can go towards the Astronomy Minor)
  • ASTR 4080: Introduction to Cosmology (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5570: Galactic Astronomy & Stellar Populations (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5580: Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology (3 credits)
  • ASTR 5590: Stellar Astrophysics (3 credits)
  • Any additional 5000-level ASTR course (beyond any of those taken to satisfy the requirements above)

Recommended Courses

  • MATH 2210: Calculus III (3 credits)
  • MATH 2250: Differential Equations & Linear Algebra (3 credits)
  • MATH 3150: Partial Differential Equations for Engineering Students (2 credits)
  • MATH 3160: Applied Complex Variables (2 credits)
  • PHYS 2210: Physics for Scientists & Engineers I (4 credits) or PHYS 3210: Physics for Scientists (4 credits) [Honors]
  • PHYS 2220: Physics for Scientists & Engineers II (4 credits) or PHYS 3220: Physics for Scientists (4 credits) [Honors]
  • PHYS 3730: Introduction to Computing in Physics (4 credits)
  • PHYS 3740: Modern Physics - Introduction to Quantum Theory & Relativity (3 credits)
  • PHYS 3760: Principles of Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics (3 credits)
  • PHYS 4420: Classical Physics II (4 credits) [Honors]

Advising Schedule

Tamara Young
202 JFB
(801) 581-7910

Schedule an Appointment

Happy Spring! 

Beginning January 19th, I will be in the Crocker Science Center Advising Hive on Fridays.

Or Drop on in :)

My Drop-in Hours for the week of March 26 -- 30 are:
M 2:00 pm -- 3:00 pm
T unavailable
W 10:00 am -- 11:00 am
H 11:00 am -- noon
F 10:00 am -- 11:00 am


My Drop-in Hours for the week of Apr 2 -- 6 are:
M 10:00 am -- 11:00 am
T 2:00 pm -- 3:00 pm
W unavailable
H unavailable
F unavailable


Academic Advising

Tamara is the undergraduate advisor in the department. You should meet with her to declare your major, plan your courses, discuss research and other involvement opportunities, evaluate transfer credit, and everything else from admissions to graduation. Tamara is also a bridge advisor with the Academic Advising Center, and therefore can help you with Gen Ed and Bachelor's Degree requirements, as well as University and Departmental policies and procedures. Tamara has been working as an academic advisor since 2014. Prior to that, she studied planet formation, and worked as an educator. Tamara loves being able to work with students and talk about physics.
Tamara Young, M.S.
202 JFB
(801) 581-7910

Professor John Belz is the Director of Undergraduate Studies. In this role, he also has the opportunity to meet with current and prospective students to discuss degree programs and opportunities in the Department.
John Belz, Ph.D.
(801) 585-9620

For information specific to the Honors Program, please use the contact info below.
Professor Anil Seth is the Department of Physics & Astronomy's liaison to the Honors College. He can help you with finding research opportunities and is the person who will approve your Honors Thesis. Please meet with Prof Seth to discuss how Honors works with Physics & Astronomy.
Anil Seth, Ph.D.
(801) 585-7793



What Can Your Advisor Help You With?

Academic advisors are here to help you make the most of your experience at the University of Utah.  Please meet with your advisor once per semester, or at least once per year, to discuss progress toward your degree and any concerns you may have. This will allow you to know more about course availability and pre-requisites (which are strongly enforced). It is crucial that you work closely with your advisor to graduate without delay.  If you are a transfer student, you are encouraged to meet with the department advisor early in your academic career, even prior to admission to the University of Utah.

Academic Advisors are available for:

  • Declaring a physics major or minor, or declaring an astronomy minor.
  • Explaining University graduation requirements, including general education, bachelor’s degree and course requirements for physics.
  • Developing an educational plan that includes scheduling, timing and using the DARS and GPS systems.
  • Connecting with University, College, and departmental opportunities and resources.
  • Evaluating physics transfer credits.
  • Navigating the system from admissions to graduation and everything in between.
  • Discussing anything regarding your education at the U of U.

For general questions please e-mail

Pre-Medical & Pre-Law Advising

Students in physics desiring to enter the fields of medicine (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, osteopathy, optometry, etc.) or law are encouraged to meet with the Pre-professional advisors at the Academic Advising Center.

The Academic Advising Center Pre-professional advisors offer advising and application aids such as mock interviews, editing personal statements, and sending letters of recommendation. On this site you will find answers to a variety of questions you may have about prerequisite courses, extracurricular experiences, and the application process. You can schedule an appointment directly through the Academic Advising Center website.

Students in physics interested in entering the field of medicine are also encouraged to meet with Professor Richard Ingebretsen () to review application materials.

GRE Summer Study Class

When will you study for the GRE?

The GRE summer study program is only meets in the summer.  Check back here next semester for updates.


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  • Department of Physics & Astronomy • 201 James Fletcher Bldg. 115 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0830
  • PHONE 801-581-6901
  • Fax 801-581-4801
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