(Submitted October 28, 1997)
I am planning on majoring in Astronomy/Astrophysics.
Do you have any information on which institutions are offering the best
programs in this field.
Your question is a good one, but it would be easier to answer it if
you told us what your long term goals are. This is because, if you are
interested in a career in astronomy, you will probably want to
attend graduate school after college and get a Ph.D. If so, then the
choice of graduate school is more important to your future career than
is the choice of college. In fact, many students in graduate schools
in astronomy have undergraduate degrees in fields other than astronomy,
such as physics or mathematics. My list of the top graduate schools
in astronomy includes: Princeton, Caltech, UC Berkeley, and University of
Chicago as the top few.
For undergraduate astronomy, I think
you can get a good education at many colleges or universities. As
with many things, what you put into your education can determine what you get
out of it. I think that you would find that if you polled the
students entering the top graduate schools that they come from a wide
range of college backgrounds, including both public and private
institutions, liberal arts colleges and large universities.
I hope this helps!
for the Ask an Astrophysicist Team