Earth and Space Exploration (Astrophysics), BS

Do you want to be at the edge of exploration, making new discoveries about our planet, our solar system and our universe? As an astrophysics major, you could be discovering new planets, exploring cosmology, designing and building space-flight hardware, and engineering new instruments for telescopes and satellites.

Program Description

The BS program in earth and space exploration with a concentration in astrophysics is designed to offer students a fundamental grounding in astronomy and astrophysics, with exposure to the related fields of geology, planetary science and engineering.

Students of the astrophysics major develop a background in theoretical modeling and observational techniques of galactic and stellar astronomy, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. They learn to think critically about scientific problems by reducing the complexity to more tractable components.

The rigorous and quantitative coursework includes a combination of physics courses taught in the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics. The tools of astronomical discovery are increasingly dependent on technological advances, and students are exposed to engineering principles and computer programming. Through the capstone project in the senior year, students gain valuable experience in translating science drivers into engineering solutions.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit The College's website for more information and requirements.

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • First Required Math Course: MAT 270 - Calculus w/Analytic Geometry I
  • Math Intensity: Substantial program math intensity substantial

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site:

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to for information about how to change a major to this program.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Astrophysics and Astronomy, MS

Prepare yourself to discover new planets, explore cosmology, and build space-flight hardware and instruments for telescopes and satellites. You can work with world-class faculty on NASA- and NSF-funded space missions, seeking answers to questions about how our universe began and how it continues to evolve.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Instrumentation), MS

Prepare for your professional or academic career with a program that combines the strengths of science and engineering. You can work with faculty in the natural sciences and engineering to design instrumentation for exploration, including digital systems and circuits, computer-controlled systems, analog-to-digital converters and solid-state electronics.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design, MS

Become a part of the next generation of researchers, those who are capable of inventing and implementing the next generation of scientific experiments, instruments and missions for Earth, planetary and space explorations.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Systems Engineering), MS

Prepare for a professional or academic career through this program that combines the creative strengths of science and engineering. You can study artificial intelligence, human factors engineering, smart materials and structures, and robot modeling with faculty specializing in the natural sciences, instrumentation design and systems engineering.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Sensor Networks), MS

Combine your interests in exploration systems design and sensor networks with the strengths of science and engineering to prepare for a professional or academic career. Study computer networks, Earth systems engineering, multidimensional signal processing, and information and random signal theory with faculty who specialize in the natural sciences and instrumentation design.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Career Outlook

Graduates possess the skills required for a career in astrophysics, physics and related fields. They also are prepared to pursue graduate school in astrophysics or to perform laboratory research or data-intensive analyses that enable scientific progress or inform public policy.

Career opportunities include:

  • aerospace engineer
  • astrobiologist
  • astronomer
  • computer programmer
  • data analyst
  • instrumentation specialist
  • planetary scientist
  • science policy intern
  • science writer
  • teacher
  • telescope operator

Career settings include:

  • federal government
  • K-12 schools
  • manufacturing
  • museums
  • NASA facilities
  • national laboratories
  • NSF facilities
  • observatories
  • planetariums
  • publishing
  • space industries
  • universities and colleges

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Aerospace Engineer

  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: $126,880


  • Growth: 4.6%
  • Median Salary*: $128,330

Electrical Engineering Professor

  • Growth: 9.3%
  • Median Salary*: $103,550
  Bright Outlook

Engineering Manager

  • Growth: 4.1%
  • Median Salary*: $159,920

Geology Professor

  • Growth: 3.6%
  • Median Salary*: $97,770

Health Sciences Manager

  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: $144,440


  • Growth: 4.7%
  • Median Salary*: $142,850
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.