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Minor in Astronomy

Minor in Astronomy

Astronomy is a branch of science which features the study of celestial objects, space and our physical universe as a whole. Astronomy dates all the way back even to pre-historic times, humans have ever since attempted to discover what lies beyond the Earth we live in. At that time, people associated cosmological phenomena and celestial bodies with gods and spirits, however as time progressed, they started to study astronomy systematically by observing and recording the movements of celestial bodies. Today, astronomy is not only an active research area in science, it has also become a hobby to many enthusiasts.

The minor in astronomy provided by the School of Physics is open to all full-time undergraduate students in USM, the courses are structured such that they are easily understood by students who have no background in physics and astronomy. However, students should still expect some SPM-level mathematical calculations throughout the programme. The School of Physics cordially invites all students who are interested in astronomy to join us in our minor programme: come, and let us discover the Universe together!

Objectives of the Programme

  1. To provide a general introduction to the wide area of astronomy;
  2. To provide a historical perspective of astronomy and trace its path to modern astronomy, crossing different civilization; and
  3. To provide a hands-on experience of handling and assembling astronomical instruments and making sky observations.

Programme Learning Outcome

At the end of this programme, students will be able to:

  • Define, interpret, explore and explain the basic foundations of astronomy;
  • Recognize, assemble and use astronomical instruments;
  • Recognize celestial objects in the universe, appreciate their beauty, and relate them with physical processes and theories;
  • Understand the principles of measurements in astronomy, and perform simple astronomical calculations;
  • Understand the principles of radio astronomy: its instruments, data processing and its contributions to mankind.


Programme Structure (Effective from AY2020/2021)

To meet the requirements of a minor in astronomy, students are required to take the following 4 courses (16 credits) throughout their term of study in USM:

ZCE 275/4  Introduction to Astronomy Semester I 
ZCE 277/4 Structure of the Universe Semester II
ZCE 376/4 Astronomy Principles and Practices   Semester I
ZCE 378/4 Introduction to Radio Astronomy Semester II

No pre-requisites are imposed on all of the modules listed above. Students under the School of Physics who are interested to take these courses as electives in contribution to their major programme are advised to speak to their programme chairman for the latest information. For a detailed breakdown of the topics covered in each course, students can refer to the Rancangan Minor booklet from this site (USM login is required).



The following are videos featuring Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdul Halim Abdul Aziz, where he introduces the USM astronomy minor programme to the public, giving the synopses of two of the courses as well.

Minor Astronomi di USM

Structure of the Universe

Introduction to Astronomy

For more information about the minor programme, please contact:
Deputy Dean (Academic, Career & International), Dr. Norhaslinda Mohamed Tahrin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Course Lecturers:
Dr. Nur Azwin Ismail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Dr. John Soo Yue Han (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Dr. Wan Mohamad Husni Wan Mokhtar (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)