Why study astronomy?

Professional astronomers are highly trained in mathematics and physics, giving them excellent job prospects in a variety of fields. In astronomy itself, jobs range from university professorships to research positions at governments labs to consulting work for NASA, politicians, mass media, and Hollywood.

At Parkland, you'll have the advantage of small class sizes, taught by master faculty—never teaching assistants. Your success is our priority.


The Solar System (AST 101) explores both historical and modern understanding of the stars, planets, comets, asteroids, and meteors of our solar system. This class involves some evening telescope observations.

Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe (AST 102) expands further to examine objects of the universe such as white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes. It also examines the development and evolution of stars. This class involves some evening telescope observations.

Student using Telescope

Will my classes transfer?

AST 101 and AST 102 will fulfill the Physical Sciences general education requirement at Illinois public universities. Parkland College classes with an even middle digit (such as ENG 101, MAT 128, and BIO 141) are accepted for transfer as general education classes, major courses, or electives as determined by the transfer institution. 

For more information about transferring, speak with an academic advisor and visit the Parkland Course Matrix.


Learn more about how these classes fit into a transfer degree or the general education core curriculum (GECC).


Physical Science

Associate in Science (A.S.)
Course Sequence

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Physical Science: Astronomy

Associate in Science (A.S.)
Course Sequence

Apply Now

Parkland Science Scholars

Students pursuing science degrees who are from low-income families are encouraged to apply to Parkland Science Scholars. This program provides financial support, mentoring, and opportunities to gain experience and create networks in science careers. For more information visit

Astronomy for fun and learning:

William M. Staerkel Planetarium

planetarium exterior wallAs a Parkland astronomy student you will benefit from first rate facilities like our very own William M. Staerkel Planetarium, the second largest planetarium in Illinois. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to learn the night sky through our night observing sessions.


Astronomy Club

Parkland also has an Astronomy Club which is open to any student interested in astronomy.
Contact Erik Johnson (astronomy faculty) for more information at or 217/353-2096.