Astronomy Program at UH Hilo
The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers an exciting undergraduate astronomy program designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers in astronomy and other sciences.
The University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy with an emphasis on observational astronomy, physics, mathematics and computer skills. In particular, telescope design, operations, software development, instrumentation and observatory support are important components of our astronomy program. Research projects in astronomy are also part of our curriculum.
The initial two years of the program consist mainly of general education courses that are part of traditional liberal arts education, as well as basic physics, mathematics and introductory astronomy. The junior and senior years are largely devoted to advanced physics and astronomy coursework, observational experience, and senior thesis projects. Students who intend to graduate in four years should be prepared to enroll in elementary calculus and physics courses at the start of their freshman year.
The University is located 45 miles from the 14,000 foot summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, that is home to many of the biggest and best telescopes in the world. Many of the observatories have their headquarters right on the UH Hilo campus.
Astronomy majors at UH Hilo get real hands-on experience by participating in research projects with faculty members and observatory staff. Some of these projects make use of telescopes on Mauna Kea, as well as, the Hubble Space Telescope, and other facilities around the World. UH Hilo astronomy students also have previously had access to the university's own 24-inch (0.6m) telescope on Mauna Kea which was equipped with electronic detectors for imaging and spectroscopy. The 24-inch telescope has now been decommissioned and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, is currently initiating a project to install a state-of-the-art observatory on Mauna Kea for the astronomy program. The new observatory will be operated from the University Science and Technology Building, on campus, and will allow students to perform observational astronomy projects and to conduct projects of a more technical nature as well. In addition, advanced students have the opportunity of internships at the various Mauna Kea observatories with headquarters on and off campus.
If you're serious about wanting to study astronomy, then it's hard to imagine a better place than the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo! See more detailed information about our astronomy course offerings.
Got questions? Prospective students can get more information about the Physics and Astronomy programs at UH Hilo by contacting Prof. P. Binder.