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The Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences is one of the few programs that combines both astrophysics and planetary science, providing a unified view of space sciences; the solar system and comparative planetology; stellar and galactic astronomy; and cosmology. Students are given hands ­on experience with telescopes, optics, instrumentation and computer image processing and modeling. 

The department’s general astronomy track lends itself to a career in education, science journalism, science policy, information technology, science management or technical work that does not require a graduate degree. The astrophysics/physics track is intended for students who wish to do research and continue on to graduate work in astronomy or planetary sciences. This track also lends itself well to a career in technical work related to the field.