What is Astronomy?

Astronomy is the study of physics, chemistry, and the evolution of the universe. In this major, you’ll study stars, planets, moons, comets, nebulae and galaxies. You'll determine the positions and motions of these phenomena. You’ll gain analytical skills and learn to draw conclusions from data. You’ll also learn how to apply physics concepts to understanding the universe. Our department also provides many opportunities for involvement in faculty research projects.

Career Options

  • Aerospace
  • Government research
  • Higher education
  • Laboratory science
  • Observatory science
  • Planetarium work
  • Museum work

Post-Graduation Success1

85% employed or continuing education

34% employed after graduation

50% attending graduate school

1% volunteering

$57,842 average starting annual income

Sample employer destinations: Epic Systems, KIPP Houston Public Schools, IBM View All

Sample grad school destinations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota, University of Maryland, College Park View All

Graduation & Retention2

4.0 years to degree

85% freshman retention rate

72% four-year graduation rate

86% six-year graduation rate

Annual Program Costs

Illinois Resident

  • Tuition: $12,254
  • Fees: $4,475
  • Expenses3: $15,952
  • Total: $32,681


  • Tuition: $29,704
  • Fees: $4,475
  • Expenses3: $16,292
  • Total: $50,471


  • Tuition: $32,094
  • Fees: $4,475
  • Expenses3: $16,292
  • Total: $52,861