Penn State students with a B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics have been successful in establishing careers in a wide variety of technical fields. Students should be aware that a degree in astronomy is less well known by employers than degrees in computer science or physics. We encourage majors intending to end their education with a B.S. to obtain a minor or double major in one of these two allied fields. Students interested in job placement after a B.S. degree are strongly encouraged to participate in departmental research or the Eberly College of Science Co-op program during their time at Penn State.
Recent graduates who chose to find employment after receiving their bachelor of science degrees in ASTRO found work in a wide range of capacities, including:
- Industry (including computer software, high-technology, telecommunications, and aerospace companies)
- High schools and universities
- Astronomical research enterprises like the Allegheny Observatory, Space Telescope Science Institute, and NASA
Some recent graduates include uniformed officers in the Army and Navy, a software engineer with Orbital Sciences, a C programmer at AT&T in New Jersey, a physics high school teacher in Maryland, a programmer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, a physicist at Lockheed Martin, and a researcher working on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for California-based AeroVironment.
Many of our majors pursue graduate education in astronomy. Recent graduates have gone to some of the finest graduate Astronomy programs including the California Institute of Technology, Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, Cornell University, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, Princeton University, and University of Wisconsin system. Majors can also enter medical school. Today, some alumni who continued into graduate school are now astronomy or physics faculty at institutions like the California Institute of Technology and University of Hawaii.
Some students chose graduate departments in allied fields like Physics or Earth Sciences: The University of Chicago (Physics), University of California (Geophysics), Ohio State University (Electrical Engineering), Brandeis University (Physics), and University of California, Berkeley (Ecology), Arizona State (Geosciences), and Johns Hopkins (Geosciences).
Two alumni are now professors of astronomy at major research universities, and others are astronomers at NASA, Space Telescope Science Institute, and at various universities.