Astronomy

Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Astronomy students…

  • Gain global perspective
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Enroll in physics or astronomy courses that augment the courses available at Whitman

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Astronomy department?

  • Students who want to take astronomy abroad should participate in a program that offers direct enrollment in a foreign university with local students.
  • Students who are “on track” may be able to take a semester off from astronomy and enroll in a program which meets other academic goals.  Students should speak with their major adviser about this possibility.
  • A field program with opportunities to engage in research with the local community, particularly for astronomy-geology combined majors

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Astronomy prepare for various career opportunities? 

  • Study abroad provides astronomy majors with research opportunities and exposure to the international scientific community that enhances international career prospects.

Which requirements can Astronomy majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • Students usually need to take an astronomy and/or physics course to stay on track with the major requirements.

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Astronomy Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus:

  • Astronomy majors need to start ASTR 170s their first year
  • Astro-physics majors need to start Calculus and First-Year Physics in their first year
  • Astro-geology majors need to start ASTR 170s and geology courses their first year
  • Study abroad in the spring semester is usually preferable to the fall because many required astronomy and physics courses are offered in the fall semester, but this will depend somewhat on which year the student is in the rotation of upper-division classes.

Credit Limitations

A maximum of 12 credits can be applied to the Astronomy major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) with the approval of the student’s major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Astronomy department?

  • University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • University of St Andrews, (St Andrews, Scotland)
  • IES University College London (London, England)
  • IFSA-Butler National University of Ireland (Galway, Ireland)

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.