Majors & Minors

Butler University, and particularly our department, is known for involving our students in internships and original research.   As we often mention most physics and astronomy/astrophysics majors throughout the country take nearly the same course work and learn the same topics as taught here at Butler.  But out of the classroom experiences, known as cocurricular experiences, are perhaps more important for learning the skills needed for a STEM career and/or graduate school.  US News and World Report recently listed Butler among the best schools in six out of eight academic programs that U.S. News ranks. The lists for first-year experiences, internships/co-ops, senior capstone, service learning, study abroad, and undergraduate research, all categories that education experts, including staff members of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, believe lead to student success, all of which are included at Butler.

Butler University and the Department of Physics & Astronomy can offer you these hands-on individual experiences that will serve you well once you leave the University, whether you’re preparing for graduate research in physics, astrophysics, or astronomy, to be an applied physicist or engineer in industry, a high school physics teacher, a physician, a patent lawyer, or medical physicist. Our students have gone on to graduate study at places such as the University of California, MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech, Washington University, and Johns Hopkins to name a few. Here are several reasons to why you should consider studying physics, astrophysics and astronomy at Butler University:

  • Excellent faculty dedicated to teaching and research
  • Research experience in fields including observational astronomy and theoretical astrophysics, engineering, condensed matter, elementary particle and nuclear physics, nanotechnology, computational physics, gravitation and relativity, and geophysics.
  • Small class sizes, a 7 to 1 student faculty ratio.
  • Employment within the department and at Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium.
  • Membership in the SARA telescope consortium that gives students and faculty 65 nights per year at observatories across the world.
  • Hands-on (paid) research experiences.
  • Nearly 100% placement rate for summer research positions and internships.
  • Nearly 100% placement rate into graduate school and industry.

The remote astrophysics observing lab located in our new facilities in the Holcomb Building and Levinson Family Hall.

Our facilities available to undergraduates are among the best in the country:

  • In June of 2021 we doubled the space of our Physics and Astronomy department when we moved into our new $100 million science complex.   This includes our remote astronomical observing lab shown to the right.
  • We have all new introductory, advanced, and research laboratories.
  • The Laboratory for Laser and Quantum Physics.
  • We have the largest telescope in the state at Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium.  This telescope recently went through a $425K upgrade and can be remotely operated from anywhere in the world.
  • Our planetarium underwent a $300K renovation in the last couple of years and is now fully digital.
  • We have a computational/remote observing laboratory for collecting and analyzing observations.
  • We have a highly parallel supercomputer (known as Big Dawg) for theoretical computations.
  • Butler’s also has a partnership with the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) gives our students remote access to telescopes 65 nights out of the year in other parts of the world.  SARA’s telescopes at Kitt Peak, AZ the Canary, Islands Spain, and Cerro Tololo, Chile give our students skies roughly 100 times darker than our Indianapolis sky, so much dimmer that detailed research can be done. More About SARA.  These telescopes can be operated from right here at Butler.

For course descriptions, visit the online Class Search.

NOTE: Degree requirements for incoming students may not reflect the actual degree requirements of current students.

Current students should consult their own academic advisement report in to see their individual requirements and progress toward degree completion.