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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills.  Astronomy is a research field oriented towards the study of the fundamental nature of the universe, its origin and evolution, and the physical processes that take place in it. As an astronomy student you will develop a wide range of skills — from research skills specific to astrophysical investigation to technical and communication skills.

Related fields include Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, and Informatics.



Investigative Skills

Defining a research problem
Developing a research model
Establishing hypotheses
Gathering/analyzing data
Evaluating ideas
Seeing relationships among factors
Drawing meaningful conclusions

Communication Skills

Developing and writing research proposals
Reviewing astronomy literature
Summarizing research findings
Preparing technical reports

Computational / Mathematical Skills

Measuring distances/sizes/relationships
Performing calculations
Mathematical modeling
Maintaining records
Utilizing mathematical formulas

Technical Skills

Designing and using specialized equipment
Identifying and classifying materials/specimens
Observing and interpreting results
Recording and analyzing data
Establishing and controlling experimental designs
Designing and using computer simulations
Using scientific instruments



Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. Most concentrations sponsor specific student groups like an undergraduate organization or an honor society. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment, or volunteering in the community.  Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.



The skills you will gain as an Astronomy concentrator will prepare you to succeed in a number of fields. In addition to preparing for a research career, Astronomy concentrators have discovered opportunities in a wide range of occupations; the list below was compiled from UM graduates and from national data. In addition, Astronomy concentrators may choose to continue their education in graduate or professional school.

Investigative Skills

Research scientist open book icon
Optical design specialist open book icon
Particle physicist open book icon
Information specialist
Flight management analysts
Atmospheric space scientist green leaf icon
Biochemist green leaf iconopen book icon
Biophysicist green leaf iconopen book icon

Communication Skills

Educational TV advisor
K-12/college teacher open book icon
Planetarium guide/ lecturer
Special librarian open book icon
Museum exhibit planner
Technical writer
Webpage writer
Science journalist
Sales, technical equipment

Computational / Mathematical Skills

Computer programmer
Mathematical technician
Website designer/administrator
Community manager
System support representative
Database analyst

Technical Skills

Telescope operator
Instrument maker
Military officer/intelligence open book icon
Navigation equipment specialist
Special effects artist

green leaf icon = Green Jobs
open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at



Mathematics 115, 116, 215, 216
Physics 140 / 141, 240 / 241, 340 / 341
Astronomy 160 or other 100 level survey class

General Requirements:
ASTRO 361, 399, 402, 404, 429, plus a 400 level elective
Mathematics 450 or 451
Physics 390, 401, 405, 453
One of MATH 404, 450, 556, or Physics 451

Department of Astronomy
830 Dennison

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall



To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan