College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2021-2022

Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science

Astrochemistry, Minor

Astrochemistry combines a broad astronomical perspective with fundamental organic and inorganic chemistry. The wide variety of courses available through this minor option highlights the interdisciplinary nature of this growing and critically important field and emphasizes the unique avenues that students can pursue to gain a strong foundational background. Students minoring in Astrochemistry will be prepared to provide a cosmic perspective to more traditional chemical fields, while this strong background will also enable students to truly appreciate the uniqueness of Earth and comparisons to other planetary bodies both within and outside of our own solar system.

Careers

What Can I Do with a Minor is Astrochemistry?

Students minoring in Astrochemistry will benefit from a strong foundation in astronomical and chemical principles. This foundation will prepare students for fields in industry, laboratories, research facilities, government organizations, K-12 education, and academia. As a minor, this degree is designed to provide broad perspectives and a foundational appreciation for the scale of space and challenges that may arise in the investigation of astrochemistry. Skills including creativity, problem solving, teamwork, and concept integration are emphasized in this degree and would help to broadly and holistically prepare students for their future endeavors, specifically in technological and scientific fields of high and emerging growth. NASA has also deemed Astrochemistry as an area of important research growth, as is evident by the number of astrochemistry-related federally funded grants awarded over the past decade.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Research assistants in governmental, academic, and industrial lab settings
  • Graduate programs focusing on astronomy and planetary science, in addition to the astronomical applications of organic and inorganic chemistry
  • Careers in emerging industries both nationally and in Arizona

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Graduate programs in related fields
  • Employment opportunities including research lab directors and academic instructors, lecturers, teachers, and faculty
  • Researchers for institutions including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


University Requirements

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 to 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than 50% of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Highest Mathematics Required MAT 137
Minimum Units for Completion 23

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this minor in Astrochemistry is to combine a broad astronomical perspective and understanding to students with interests in fundamental organic and inorganic chemistry.  The wide variety of electives available through this minor option highlights the interdisciplinary nature of this growing and critically important field and emphasizes the unique avenues that students can pursue to gain a strong foundational background. Specific courses in astronomical principles as well as physical chemistry, environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry, and biochemistry will constitute the bulk of the required coursework.  Students minoring in Astrochemistry will be prepared to provide a cosmic perspective to more traditional chemical fields, while this strong background will also enable students to truly appreciate the uniqueness of Earth and comparisons to other planetary bodies both within and outside of our own solar system.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students minoring in Astrochemistry will be able to:

  • Evaluate our current understanding of the origin and evolution of matter throughout our universe, including the drivers of chemical diversity observed and modeled within our solar system and beyond;
  • Understand how specific geological and astronomical processes modify the observed chemical makeup of solar system and exo-solar objects; and
  • Describe how chemical processes influence the habitability of planetary and astronomical bodies.

Details

Minor Requirements

Campus Availability



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