Understand the universe.

The study of astrophysics aims to understand the universe and everything within it in terms of the fundamental nature of forces and particles. Studying physics strengthens quantitative reasoning and problem solving skills that are valuable in areas beyond physics because students learn how to analyze complex problems, giving them a strong quantitative background that can be applied in any technical field. 


Program type:

Major, BS



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Bachelor of Science in Physics -

Astrophysics Emphasis

The BS in Physics with an Emphasis in Astrophysics is designed to prepare students for a broad-based education in astrophysics with the experimental, observational and theoretical skills essential to practicing astronomers and astrophysicists. An undergraduate degree in astrophysics prepares students for both graduate study and professional careers in astronomy, atmospheric science, image processing, cosmology and instrumentation.


Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the BS in Physics, Astrophysics Emphasis graduates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic physics concepts including classical mechanics, electricity, magnetism, thermal and statistical physics, modern optics and quantum mechanics; demonstrate an understanding of basic principles and concepts of modern astrophysics and observational astronomy; perform astronomical observations, reduce and critically interpret their data; be skilled in problem solving, critical thinking and analytical reasoning as applied to scientific problems; proficient in both written and oral communication of the results of scientific work; conduct original scientific research as part of a problem-solving team; identify possible errors in scientific data; and assess the significance of observed results.

Graduates of physics programs are always in demand across a wide range of academia and business sectors. Employment of Physicists and Astronomers is projected to grow up to 5% through 2032, with a median annual salary of $149,530, according to wage and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale.com.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2032

Career Pathways

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics Research
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Meteorology
  • Museum Education
  • Planetarium Technical Artist/Programming
  • Researcher in National Laboratory
  • Telescope Operation


Plan of study

All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements Review Sample Four-Year Plan

Download 4-Year Academic Map

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the UMSL state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Student organizations

Make new friends and learn new skills by joining one of our Recognized Student Organizations. Here are several opportunities you may be interested in as a physics major:

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.