The United States remains the most popular destination in the world for international students. Universities in the US dominate world rankings, and the country also offers many exciting places to study. State university systems are partially subsidized by the state government and may have multiple campuses spread across the state with hundreds of thousands of students.

Astronomy includes both theoretical study and observation of astronomical objects in the sky. Learning may require taking classes in physics, and some programs may teach students how to use telescopes, star charts, and special computer software. A student interested in creative thinking and problem-solving skills will likely enjoy learning this content. The best astronomy universities in the US offer qualitative courses at different levels.

How to become an astronomer in the United States?

Astronomers need a doctorate to work in research and academia. However, there are jobs in the federal government that only require a bachelor's degree in physics. It is important to emphasize that knowledge of mathematics, such as calculus, linear algebra, and statistics, is essential.

How much does an astronomer earn in the United States?

About 50% earned between $66,680 and $107,410. The lowest 10% earn less than $50,350 and the top 10% earn more than $129,250. The average annual salary of astronomers was $81,690.

The best astronomy schools in the US

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Top 10+ Most Prestigious Schools for Astronomy Science In The US Today
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1861 in response to the growing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted the European polytechnic model and emphasized laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering.

MIT hosts a vibrant interdisciplinary research and education program in Astronomy and Astrophysics. These activities include multiple divisions, including MIT's Astrophysics Division, MIT's Planetary Division, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), and the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics space (AeroAstro).

2. Florida Institute of Technology


Since 1958, Florida Tech has set the standard for space sciences, successfully preparing students for high-tech careers at top space agencies and research organizations. The astronomy and astrophysics degree option, which focuses on the study of celestial bodies outside of the Earth's solar system, is intended to meet the needs of students who want to pursue graduate studies and a career in astronomical sciences.

Whether you want to investigate the mysteries of black holes, examine the physical behavior of stars, or discover the origins of the universe, the Astronomy and Astrophysics degree from Florida Tech provides a solid foundation in physics as well as hands-on experience with high-tech observational instrumentation.

3. California Institute of Technology


The astronomy program at Caltech is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology.

Caltech's program prepares students to tackle some of the most difficult questions in modern astronomy by combining the rigor of physics with the precision of mathematics.

Students learn to analyze data, develop and test theories, and investigate the universe's mysteries. Caltech's astronomy curriculum provides students with an unparalleled education in the field, thanks to access to world-class research facilities and renowned faculty.

4. Northwestern University


Northwestern University is an excellent choice for students interested in astronomy and astrophysics. Northwestern is a large private, non-profit university in the small city of Evanston. Northwestern is a great university in general, with a Best Colleges ranking of #5 out of 2,241 schools nationwide.

In the most recent data year, about 14 astronomy and astrophysics students graduated with this degree from Northwestern.

In 2021, 9 students graduated from Northwestern with master's degrees in astronomy. This places it as the seventh most popular school in the country for astronomy master's degree candidates.

5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Astronomy students at Illinois have access to unique learning opportunities. The university is a world leader in cosmology, observational astronomy, and theoretical astrophysics. Modern datasets are provided in courses throughout the curriculum to provide hands-on experience analyzing real data.

Students studying astronomy at Illinois have access to world-class facilities such as the South Pole Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and state-of-the-art supercomputers at NCSA.

Students learn on industry-leading equipment from Arizona to Antarctica. Many undergraduates use the school's resources to conduct research projects outside of the classroom.

The University of Illinois is at the cutting edge of astronomy research, exposing students to ground-breaking discoveries. A new study led by an astronomy department student and professor discovered a clear link between black holes and their distinctive light-flickering patterns.

6. Harvard University


Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with approximately 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 graduate students. It is therefore devoted to excellence in teaching, learning and research making it one of the finest universities the world has ever had to offer.

Harvard is one of the most selective institutes for astronomy out of all the colleges and universities surveyed for the World's Best Astronomy Universities.

And prospective students can apply early action to Harvard University. Although the university's website states that applying early does not give students an advantage in the admissions process.

However, Harvard University is good at various professional programs, especially the astronomy program. That is to say, it is one of the best schools to study astronomy.

7. Penn State University (University Park, PA)

Top 10+ Most Prestigious Schools for Astronomy Science In The US Today
Pennsylvania State University


Penn State students are taught by more than 60 different members of the teaching faculty.

These educators are committed to using a multidisciplinary approach in the classroom to help students gain a better understanding of the universe. Astronomy students have the opportunity to interact with a number of distinguished faculty members, including Alexander Wolszscan, who discovered the first exoplanets.

Astronomy students are taught how to solve quantitative problems in a variety of contexts throughout the field of astronomy and astrophysics. Some of the topics covered in the various classes include exoplanets, observational cosmology, radiation, space instrumentation, astrostatistics, and astrophysics.

Penn State maintains an active collection of community service programs in addition to providing education to high school and college students. The astronomy department encourages younger students and other members of the community to develop an interest in scientific topics.

Penn State fosters an appreciation for astronomy through a variety of activities such as public lectures, workshops, planetarium shows, and stargazing, making it one of the best astronomy colleges.

8. Stanford University


Stanford is known for its academic prowess, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranks as one of the world's top universities for astronomy. The school is located in the United States.

Its core purpose is to prepare students to make meaningful contributions to society. Universities do that by engaging citizens and leaders in a complex world.

The profile has thus proven to be one of the top astronomy schools in the world.

9. University Of Nebraska Kearney


The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a public, residential university that aspires to be one of the nation's top undergraduate institutions, as well as a leader in graduate education, scholarship, and public service.

The new general studies curriculum at UNK requires fewer hours, makes transferring easier, and allows students more flexibility in earning their degree. The general studies credit requirement was reduced from 45 to 30 hours as a result. The 4-year class schedule below is an example of how to progress toward a BS in Astronomy at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

10. Princeton University


Students studying astronomy at Princeton have access to some of the world's most advanced telescopes and research facilities. Many of the faculty members have made groundbreaking discoveries and contributions to the field of astronomy.

Students gain a thorough understanding of the universe as well as the tools to conduct their own research under their supervision. Studying astronomy at Princeton provides an unrivaled opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the best in the field.

11. University of California - Berkeley


The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the best schools in the country for astronomy and astrophysics degrees. UC Berkeley is a large public university in Berkeley, California. UC Berkeley is a great university in general, with a Best Colleges ranking of #17 out of 2,241 colleges nationwide.

In the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 65 astronomy and astrophysics students graduated with this degree from UC Berkeley.

Graduate students can earn a Ph.D. in Astronomy and work alongside faculty on groundbreaking projects. Graduates outperform the stars they study, landing jobs in academia, industry, and government.

12. University of Colorado at Boulder


CU Boulder is known for its unique program that combines astrophysics and planetary sciences education.

The astronomy department has access to cutting-edge equipment, such as the Sommers-Bausch Observatory. The center, which is conveniently located on campus, provides hands-on training in astronomical observations. Throughout the curriculum, astronomy students gain experience with telescopes, optics, instrumentation, and image processing.

The astronomy department at CU Boulder hosts a variety of events to keep students engaged. These include opportunities for networking, guest lectures, and open houses. The department colloquia provide a forum for program members to discuss new astronomical topics.

13. Columbia University

Top 10+ Most Prestigious Schools for Astronomy Science In The US Today
Columbia University


Columbia University's department of physics and astrophysics is world-renowned for its cutting-edge research and education in astrophysics, cosmology, and physics.

The department has an expert faculty team that conducts groundbreaking research in areas such as dark matter, black holes, and the origins of the universe.

Students in the program have access to cutting-edge facilities and resources, as well as opportunities to collaborate with field leaders.

The program, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, prepares graduates for careers in academia, research, and industry.


The above is a list of the top astronomy schools in the United States. Keep in mind that many astronomers also work as university lecturers and professors in the best astronomy colleges; thus, the ability to teach and a familiarity with how to communicate with students are required.

Prepare yourself, especially at the start of your career, to spend long hours working through the night in observatories as well as significant time traveling for conferences, meetings, and observation runs.

Top 15+ Most Prestigious Schools for Human Resources in the US Today Top 15+ Most Prestigious Schools for Human Resources in the US Today

For the human resource management industry, the US has always been the first choice with top-recognized teaching quality and attractive career prospects. Which are the ...

Top 20+ Most Prestigious Schools For Biology and Biochemistry in The US Today Top 20+ Most Prestigious Schools For Biology and Biochemistry in The US Today

Biology is a very popular major, providing students with a lot of job opportunities after graduation. Here are 10 universities in the US that are ...

Top 10+ Most Prestigious Schools for Cognitive Science in The US Today Top 10+ Most Prestigious Schools for Cognitive Science in The US Today

Cognitive science is the scientific study of the human mind. If you want to dive into the exciting world of cognitive science, take a look ...