The University of Arizona

Undergraduate Astrobiology Minor

Purpose and Nature of Program

To train undergraduates and graduates in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology as a minor to their major area of concentration. Students of astronomy, biosciences, chemistry, geosciences and planetary sciences are often interested in studies related to astrobiology. This program will allow students to develop a strong core of understanding in astrobiology, thus enhancing their specific research in their traditional field of biosciences, astronomy, etc.

DOWNLOAD THE UNDERGRADUATE ASTROBIOLOGY FLYER

Program Requirements

Undergraduate Requirements:

A minimum of 18 units, which must include 9 units of upper division course work and 3 units of University Credit. A minimum of 3.00 GPA in the minor.

 

A) REQUIREMENTS

Three core courses (9 credit, see below) and three electives (9 credit, see Section C). The courses can be taken in any order.

CORE COURSES FOR UNDERGRADUATE ASTROBIOLOGY MINOR

Year Course Instructors
Even Year - Fall ASTR406 - The Nature and Origins of Life L. Ziurys
Odd Year - Spring ASTR488 - Astrochemistry L. Ziurys
Odd Year - Fall Coevolution of Earth and the Biosphere TBD
Even Year - Spring ASTR475 - Planetary Astrobiology D. Apai & J. Eisner
Odd+Even Years - Fall MCB315 - Key Quantitative Concepts in Astrobiology R. Gutenkunst

 

 

 

 

 

 

B) EXAMPLE COURSE PLANS

The following are examples for the course plans the students can take. Any combination of the three courses are allowed, even if they do not corresponding to any of the three example plans outlined below.

Example 1    
Year Course Instructors
Even Year - Fall MCB315 Key Quantitative Concepts in Biology + Elective Gutenkunst
Odd Year - Spring ASTR488 - Astrochemistry Ziurys
Odd Year - Fall Two Electives TBD
Even Year - Spring ASTR475 - Planetary Astrobiology Apai & Eisner

 

Example 2    
Year Course Instructors
Odd Year - Fall Two electives  
Even Year - Spring ASTR475 - Planetary Astrobiology Apai & Eisner
Even Year - Fall ASTR406  The Nature and Origins of Life Ziurys
Odd Year - Spring ASTR488 Astrochemistry Ziurys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Example 3    
Year Course Instructors
Odd Year - Fall Two electives  
Even Year - Spring ASTR475 - Planetary Astrobiology Apai & Eisner
Even Year - Fall ASTR406  The Nature and Origins of Life Ziurys
Odd Year - Spring MCB315 - Key Quantitative Concepts in Life Gutenkunst 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C) ELECTIVES

Electives: Beyond the three required core course any other core course can be taken as an elective. Additional 300/400/500 level courses in related fields, including astronomy, chemistry, biology, geosciences, can be taken as elective, but check with the astrobiology minor advisor first.

The following is a list of example courses that would qualify as electives for the astrobiology undergraduate minor. Students interested in taking other courses as electives must consult with an astrobiology minor advisor.

Electives:

Astronomy

ASTR302 - Introduction to Observational Astronomy (Spring; Requisites: Phys 105/305, Phys 142/152, MATH 125)

ASTR406 - Nature and Origins of Life (Fall in even years; Requisites: Completed 300-level science courses; consent of instructor)

ASTR416 - Modern Astronomical Optics (Spring)

ASTR485 - Radio Astronomy

ASTR488A - Astrochemistry (Fall in odd years; Requisites: Consent of Instructor)

ASTR475 - Planetary Astrobiology (Spring in even years; Requisites: 6 credits in upper division science courses)

Planetary Sciences

PTYS403 - Physics of the Solar System (Spring; Requisites: PHYS142 or PHYS251) PTYS407 - Chemistry of the Solar System (Fall; Requisites: CHEM104, MATH129) PTYS411 - Geology and Geophysics of the Solar System (4 units, Spring; MATH 129) PTYS442 - Mars (Spring, Requisites: PTYS411 recommended, but not required)

Biology (TBC)

BIOC384 - Foundations in Biochemistry (Fall, Spring, Summer; Requisites: MCB181R, CHEM241A)
MCB315 - Key Quantitative Concepts in Biology
MCB411 - Molecular Biology

MCB304 - Molecular Genetics
MCB340 - Introduction to Biotechnology

Geosciences (TBC) 

 

D) ASTROBIOLOGY UNDERGRADUATE MINOR ADVISORS

Students interested in declaring the astrobiology undergraduate minor or students with questions related to the requirements of the minor should consult with one of the following advisors:

Prof. Daniel Apai, Dept. of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences, Rm 338, apai@as.arizona.edu 

Prof. Lucy Ziurys, Dept. of Astronomy, lziurys@as.arizona.edu

Prof. Ilaria Pascucci, Dept. of Planetary Sciences, pascucci@lpl.arizona.edu 

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