Radio Astronomy Course and Education Programs

Radio astronomy programs can prepare you for a career studying galactic bodies like planets, stars and galaxies. Read on to learn about your course and degree program options. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Radio astronomy is the science of researching astronomical bodies, such as stars, galaxies and planets, using radio frequencies. You can study radio astronomy in courses or degree programs offered through astronomy or astrophysics departments at many schools around the country.

Degrees Bachelor's in Astronomy or Astrophysics, Master's and Ph.D. in field specialization
Specializations Extragalactic Astronomy, High-Energy Astrophysics, Star Formation
Courses Observational Astronomy, Star Formation, Galactic Astronomy, Radio Astronomy, Solar Physics, Stellar Population

What Background Does Radio Astronomy Require?

Scientists who use radio astronomy must know about a wide range of astrological phenomena that can affect radio signals, such as the static microwave background and molecular clouds. They also need a wide knowledge of the tools used in radio astronomy, including antennae, interferometers and spectrometers. In addition, radio astronomy experts must have a strong background in physics and astrophysics.

What Programs are Available in Radio Astronomy?

Undergraduate and graduate programs in radio astronomy tend to be science-intensive, research-based courses of study that may require you to take advanced classes in mathematics and physics. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory also offers a basic radio astronomy course you can take if you already have a background in astronomy, physics or engineering (www.nrao.edu).

In 4-year bachelor's degree programs for astronomy or astrophysics, you will learn the foundations of astronomy in addition to radio astronomy. Other course offerings include star science, planetary astronomy and cosmology. You may also have the chance to write a senior thesis based on original, observational research.

What About Graduate Programs?

Master's and Ph.D. degree programs usually require you to specialize in an advanced area of study within astronomy or astrophysics, such as extragalactic astronomy, high-energy astrophysics or star formation. It may take you over two years to earn a master's degree and over five years for a Ph.D. You may also be required to complete a research thesis or dissertation.

What Will I Learn in the Courses?

In radio astronomy classes you may study through a large amount of lab and telescope work. You may also cover essential topics, such as physics or calculus; however, this knowledge may be listed as a prerequisite. Otherwise, radio astronomy courses tend to cover some or all of the following:

  • Radio emission mechanics
  • Antenna theory
  • Calibration and correlation
  • Solar, galactic and extragalactic radio emissions
  • Radio telescope techniques
  • Radio wavelengths for space observation
  • Stellar populations
  • Galaxies
  • Exoplanets
  • Cosmology
  • High-energy astrophysics

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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