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Physics and Astronomy, Bachelor

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #24 (WUR) Evanston, IL, United States
The Physics and Astronomy program of Northwestern University offers students the possibility to study the broadest of the sciences, and more than any other seeks to explain the natural world in the most universal manner possible.
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The Physics and Astronomy program of Northwestern University will allow students to work on many problems of fundamental importance; one of the more interesting is the search for so-called "neutrino oscillations". In brief, many physicists believe that a certain class of subatomic particles known as neutrinos do not maintain a constant identity as they move, but instead rotate between different "flavors" – something like a car which is either a Ford, a Honda, or a Saab, depending on how far down the road it has traveled. (This problem has led physicists in Japan to build a neutrino detector 136 feet tall and 145 feet around, housing 50,000 gallons of water and 11,200 photomultiplier tubes, in a chamber 3,300 feet underground. Extreme devices such as this are needed, because neutrinos are extremely hard to detect.)

Today is perhaps the most exciting time in history to be an astrophysicist. Technological breakthroughs such as adaptive optics for giant telescopes (which allow them to see clearly through the shimmer of Earth's atmosphere), orbiting space-based detectors and instrumentation, and ultra-precision measurement techniques, have revolutionized our ability to examine the Universe. In only the last decade, we have detected scores of new planets orbiting near-by stars, and discovered that "normal" matter (as we are made of) constitutes only about 15% of the mass of the Universe. (The other 85% is the mysterious, so-called "Dark Matter".)

Career paths

The emphasis in physics and astronomy is always squarely on analytical thinking: the formulation of relevant questions, careful examination of the data, testing of alternative hypotheses, and the rigorous give-and-take of logical debate and discussion. These skills can serve students well in virtually any career, including research and development, medicine, law, journalism, computer science, business, and education. In addition, the strong emphasis upon the use of mathematics and computers allows physics/astronomy majors to move easily into any number of quantitative fields.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Modern Cosmology
  • Introduction to Astrobiology
  • Introduction to Astrophysics
  • Ideas of Physics
  • Music-Sound-Timbre
  • General Physics

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • Official secondary school transcript and school report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (ONLY required for international applicants whose first language is not English or whose schooling has not been in English)
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver
  • Early Decision Agreement (ONLY Early Decision applicants)
  • Midyear transcript
  • Music audition (ONLY School of Music applicants)
  • Required for homeschooled applicants ONLY: 3 SAT subject tests 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    56232 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 56232 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Evanston

  • 1100 - 1500 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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