Astronomy Program at UH Hilo
The UH Hilo astronomy program aims to (a) develop the science knowledge and analytic skills of students, whether they be majors or not, through a focus on the field of astronomy; and (b) instill an appreciation of science, particularly astronomy, in students. The program provides the students with transferable skills so they can excel in a wide range of STEM-related fields. Through the study of astronomy, graduates will also learn to appreciate and understand science more broadly, enabling them to be more informed citizens. The B.S. degree program, taking advantage of our access to Mauna Kea Observatories, provides the training needed for students seeking careers in astronomy---as professional astronomers, observatory technical staff, and educators. Our program supports the liberal arts mission of the University by providing general education courses in a field of major importance to the State of Hawai`i.
Program Learning Outcomes
The B.S. program in astronomy is designed to develop student mastery of:
- Major fields of modern astronomy: stars, planets, interstellar/intergalactic gas, galaxies, and cosmology;
- Basics of mechanics, optics, electromagnetism, atomic structure, and modern physics; and
- Practical applications such as instrumentation, computation, modern observational techniques, and data analysis.
Goals for Student Learning
Graduates are also expected to:
- Understand the relations between astronomy and other areas of science;
- Solve problems with scientific reasoning and critical thinking skills;
- Communicate complex ideas effectively, both verbally and in writing; and
- Appreciate the impact of astronomy in the state of Hawai`i.
We also try to provide every opportunity for the students to conduct original research with faculty or Mauna Kea Observatories staff.
Astronomy Degree Program
The initial two years of the program consist mainly of general education courses that are part of traditional liberal arts education, as well as basic physics, mathematics and introductory astronomy. The junior and senior years are largely devoted to advanced physics and astronomy coursework, observational experience, and senior thesis projects. Students who intend to graduate in four years should be prepared to enroll in elementary calculus and physics courses at the start of their freshman year.
Four-Year Academic MAP (2019-2020):
Learn more about the Astronomy Program at UH Hilo
- Astronomy UHH campus catalog description
- Astronomy courses offered at UH Hilo from the campus catalog
- UH Hilo Admissions Office (all things UH Hilo)
- Why UH Hilo
- The University is located 45 miles from the 14,000 foot summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, that is home to many of the biggest and best telescopes in the world. Many of the observatories have their headquarters right on the UH Hilo campus.
Interested in a career in Astronomy?
- American Astronomical Society (AAS)
- 61 FAQ's about a career in Astronomy (from the Astronomy Cafe)
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
Got questions? Prospective students can get more information about the Physics and Astronomy programs at UH Hilo by contacting the Department Chair, Dr. Kathy Cookey.