Particle physics, condensed matter physics and astrophysics are arguably the three major research frontiers of physics at the present time. It is generally thought that a physics student's training is not complete without an elementary knowledge of particle physics and condensed matter physics. Most physics departments around the world offer one-semester comprehensive courses on particle physics and condensed matter physics (sometimes known by its more traditional name ‘solid state physics’). All graduate students of physics and very often advanced undergraduate students also are required to take these courses. Very surprisingly, one-semester comprehensive courses on astrophysics at a similar level are not so frequently offered by many physics departments. If a physics department has general relativists on its faculty, often a one-semester course General Relativity and Cosmology would be offered, though this would normally not be a compulsory course for all students. It has thus happened that many students get trained for a professional career in physics without a proper knowledge of astrophysics, one of the most active research areas of modern physics.
Of late, many physics departments are waking up to the fact that this is a very undesirable situation. More and more physics departments around the world are now introducing one-semester comprehensive courses on astrophysics at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level, similar to such courses covering particle physics and solid state physics.