In the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences and deals primarily with developing an understanding of our origins on a cosmic scale. Students interested in graduate study in astronomy should complete the physics major with a concentration in astrophysics and should strongly consider doing an honors project and thesis. They are also encouraged to pursue summer research with faculty before the start of their senior year. Colby physics majors who have taken Astronomy 231 and 342 and completed a research project in astronomy have always been admitted into graduate programs in astronomy or astrophysics. Students in any major discipline who are interested in a more general exposure to astronomy should consider the astronomy minor.

The physics major with a concentration in astrophysics is described in the “Physics” section of the catalogue.


Associate Professors Dale Kocevski and Elizabeth McGrath; Laboratory Instructor I Michaela Allen

Requirements +

Requirements for the Minor in Astronomy

No requirements for the astronomy minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. The grade point average for the astronomy minor is calculated using all courses that can satisfy the requirements listed below.

Students must take either Astronomy 151 or 172 and the following required courses:

Other Applicable Courses +


  • 231 Introduction to Astrophysics
  • 342 Galaxies and Cosmology


  • 141 Foundations of Mechanics (or 143 Honors Physics)
  • 145 Foundations of Electromagnetism and Optics


  • 120, 121, 125, or 130 Single-Variable Calculus (or Honors Calculus I, 135 or 161)

Note: Students cannot fulfill the astronomy minor if electing to major or minor in physics. Physics majors interested in astronomy should consider the astrophysics concentration.