What do I need to do in high school to become an astrophysicist?

Becoming an astrophysicist requires training and skill in a combination of astronomy and physics. Students should identify potential schools and maintain a high GPA in high school and focus on excelling in mathematics, science, and computer science. Astronomers study the origin and composition of the universe, including its planets, stars, galaxies and black holes. The American Institute of Physics (AIP) maintains an interactive tool called GradSchoolShopper to help you find a suitable graduate program in physics, astronomy, or a related field.

Chemistry and physics courses are also strongly recommended in high school as proper preparation for the first year of college. Although most universities require at least one year of science in high school and two years of mathematics in high school, this minimum training is insufficient for students planning to major in science. Becoming a success as an astrophysicist is inextricably linked to success as a student, starting with high school and continuing through college, graduate work, and graduate work. Specifically, a student planning to go to graduate school in astronomy should have had courses in physics that covered electricity and magnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and quantum theory.

The strength of a school's astrophysics program is closely tied to the quality of its mathematics and physics programs, so the rankings of all three are listed below.