Modern astrophysics has evolved from the study of individual object on photographic plates to the analysis and modeling of large and complex datasets and systems, requiring a higher level of programming skill. Computational Astrophysics is now considered its own subfield within astrophysics, with dedicated journals such as “Nature – Computational Astrophysics” and it is defined as “the study of the phenomena that occur in space using computer simulations. This can involve modelling processes that take place over millions of years, such as colliding galaxies or the slow destruction of a star by a black hole. This also includes understanding the high-energy phenomena that take place in stars.”

The minor in Computational Astrophysics at the University of Miami provides students with basic skills that they will need if they want to continue in the field of astrophysics, namely an introduction to astrophysics and to computer programming. Combined with a major, for example, in Physics, Computer Science, or Engineering, it will give the students what they need to apply to graduate school to pursue either Astrophysics or Astronomy. The Minor also provides students with basic problem solving skills and experience with large data analysis that could be reinvested in a future career in the private sector. 

The minor requires 9 credits from the Department of Physics and 7 credits from the Department of Computer Science. The courses required are Modern Physics (which covers, among others special relativity and properties of light), Introduction to Astrophysics (which covers fundamental tools in astrophysics and a study of the properties of astrophysical objects), Computer  Programming I, 3 additional credits in Astrophysics, through either a special topic course in Astrophysics (currently including Cosmology, General Relativity, or High Energy Astrophysics) and/or research in Astrophysics with one of the active groups in the Physics Department, and 3 additional credits in Computer Science, through either Computer Programming II or Introduction to Python for Scientists. 

NOTE #1: This minor includes the University Physics sequence as prerequisite. 

NOTE #2: The minor cannot be combined with the Physics major to fulfill the graduation requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences.

NOTE #3: Students cannot pursue both the Astrophysics and Computational Astrophysics minor

Curriculum Requirements

University Physics Sequence
Modern Physics3
Introduction to Modern Physics
Introduction to Astrophysics3
Introduction to Astrophysics
Introduction to Programming4
Computer Programming I
Three credits in "Special Topics in Astrophysics" or "Research in Astrophysics"3
Research in Astrophysics
Special Topics in Astrophysics
Three additional credits in Computer Science
CSC 220Computer Programming II3-4
or CSC 315 Introduction to Python for Scientists
Total Credit Hours16