About the Course


  • Grades 7-11
  • Advanced CTY-Level

When the sun runs out of fuel, will it explode in a giant supernova or fade into a white dwarf? Does every galaxy revolve around a supermassive black hole? Will the universe keep expanding or eventually collapse upon itself? Astrophysics—the study of the physical laws governing astronomical objects and the universe—is key to determining how the universe started, how it works, and where it’s headed. In this course, you and your classmates will learn about scale and distances between planets, stars, and galaxies. You’ll explore stellar evolution; the birth, life, and death of stars and their inner workings; and consider how objects such as neutron stars and black holes are formed. You’ll investigate galaxies, including the Milky Way, comparing their shapes, compositions, and rotational speeds, and calculate distances to other galaxies using Hubble’s Law. Lastly, you’ll explore topics in modern cosmology, such as the Big Bang and inflationary universe hypotheses, and consider the ultimate fate of the universe.

Typical Class Size: 18

Testing and Prerequisites

  Math Verbal
Required Level Advanced CTY-Level Not required
Check your eligibility using existing test scores If you do not have existing test scores:

Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.

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Course Prerequisites

Astrophysics requires:

1 prerequisite

Algebra 1

Cost and Financial Aid

  • Tuition
    • Varies
  • Application fee
    • Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
    • Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)

Financial Aid is available

We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.

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Course Materials

Students should bring basic school supplies like pens, notebooks, and folders to their summer program. You will be notified of any additional items needed before the course begins. All other materials will be provided by CTY.

Course Extras (Lab fee info, etc): Lab fee: $135

Sample Reading

These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.

  • Astronomy Today Volume 2: Stars and Galaxies, by Eric Chaisson and Steve McMillan

Technical Requirements

Students must bring a laptop computer with at least Windows 10 or a recent version of Mac OS for use during the session. Students may be asked to install simulation software once onsite; detailed instructions will be provided.

About Science and Engineering at CTY

Explore the world with our field science courses

Our field science courses let you explore the wonders of the world: in Marine Ecology, you’ll visit local wetlands and tidepools, observe flora and fauna, collect water samples and analyze them for clues about their health and humans’ impact. In our Introduction to Astronomy course, you’ll visit a nearby observatory or planetarium, see what the cosmos looks like through various spectra, and immerse yourself in the science and technology that bring the universe closer to home. And in our Paleobiology course, you’ll visit dig sites, tar pits, and museums, exploring fossils, the prehistoric environments that these ancient creatures inhabited, and the ways modern life forms have evolved through the ages.

Bond over chemistry

Our chemistry courses help you see the world differently, starting at the atomic level. The Edible World gives budding chefs and science lovers a glimpse into the chemical reactions that happen when we make food, and the chemical makeup of meals and treats we eat every day. In our Crystals and Polymers course, you’ll synthesize slime, grow rock candy, and isolate strawberry DNA to learn about the molecular structure of naturally occurring gems and human-produced plastics. In Chemistry in Society, you’ll consider how the chemicals in products can both enhance and degrade the world around us. You’ll produce biodiesel in a lab to understand alternative fuels, and prepare aspirin to learn about the healing and toxic properties of pharmaceuticals.

Meet our instructors and staff