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

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

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

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

  • Astro-physics majors need to start Astro 170s, Calculus, and First-year Physics in 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.

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.

Major Credit Limitations

  • The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Astronomy major from off campus studies (including AP credit, IB credit and credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.

Minor Credit Limitations

  • A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.

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

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 (UCL) (England)
  • IFSA-Butler: National University of Ireland Galway

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.