Group of students sitting with female teacher in office

Explore the beginning of time and the infinite recesses of space

Studying in the Department of Astronomy will take you on the ultimate quest — to make the universe comprehensible. We are one of the largest undergraduate astronomy programs in the nation, with more than 2,400 UW students enrolled in our introductory astronomy courses every year. Most of our Astronomy majors choose to double major in physics and conduct research. Our graduate program is regularly ranked among the nation’s best, with graduate students engaging in cutting-edge research.

Visit Department Site View Factsheet
An elliptical galaxy in outer space

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs

A student operating the projector in the UW Planetarium
4 American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows


Because our faculty serve in leadership positions in national and international projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), our alumni are well-positioned to launch successful careers in research-based roles in higher education, government and the aerospace industry.

Career Paths

Possible career paths for astronomy majors include: 

  • Astronomer
  • Educator 
  • Technical writer 
  • Science journalist 
  • Research assistant 
  • Computer scientist
Three students interact at research symposium

Supporting a more diverse scientific community

Our Pre-Major in Astronomy Program (Pre-MAP) engages students who are interested in astronomy and who are traditionally underrepresented in the field — including women, people of color, low-income and first-generation college students. Pre-MAP mentors students from the beginning of their UW careers. Currently, more than 40% of our majors are from groups that are historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

More About Pre-MAP

Find Yourself in Astronomy

Ask — and help answer — the big questions: how planetary systems evolved, galaxies formed, and the universe began.

Department of Astronomy Stories

Starry sky above a glowing sunset

What the Sky Teaches Us

Brittany Kamai, an astrophysicist with knowledge of Pacific Islanders' Indigenous navigation using the sky, is teaching a new UW course, Pacific Indigenous Astrophysics.

Patricia Clark headshot

Poetry for the Moon

A poem by alum Patricia Clark (BA, 1974), about a UW astronomy class she took 51 years ago, is now headed to the moon on a NASA flight. 

Starry sky with trees below.

Big Data in the Night Sky

Astronomers at the DiRAC Institute have been preparing for a flood of data from the new Rubin Observatory. Now undergrads have joined the effort.