Astronomy is the application of one or more of the physical sciences to the universe beyond the Earth. Astronomy has a vibrant amateur community whose interests and activities run the full range from simple stargazing to professional quality observation and research.

The astronomy minor is intended for either non-science majors who wish to explore their astronomical interests, up to and including basic astronomical observation and research, or science majors who wish to augment their major through exposure to astronomy and the planetary sciences.

Unless a student majors in one of the physical sciences, meeting the minimum requirements for the astronomy minor will not prepare one for graduate work in astronomy. However, it will allow one to develop a competence in the theories, tools and techniques of astronomical discovery as used by professionals and amateurs alike.