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

Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science

Astrogeology, Minor

Thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center, Lowell Observatory, NAU, and the plethora of analog geologic environments in northern Arizona, Flagstaff remains the epicenter of astrogeology research. Take advantage of Flagstaff’s rich astrogeologic history by combining the related fields of astronomy and geology.  This minor provides students interested in planetary geology and surface processes with the foundational knowledge rooted in traditional geologic principles. Similarly, students will also gain invaluable astronomical perspectives, building the perspectives of scale and geologic/astronomic time that are necessary to appreciate astronomical context. This minor requires completion of at least 23 credit hours in AST and GLG courses.

Careers

What Can I Do with a Minor in Astrogeology?

Students minoring in Astrogeology will be prepared to understand the spatial and temporal scales of geologic processes throughout the solar system and beyond. These skills 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 planetary geology. 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, technological and critical thinking skills in these scientific fields are particularly important areas of high and emerging growth both nationally and in Arizona. Space exploration and the science that accompanies it are continuing to rapidly grow and expand, and this minor will ensure that students are well prepared to contribute to this cross-disciplinary and nontraditional field.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Careers including remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) technicians
  • Research assistants in governmental, academic, or industrial lab settings 
  • Depending on the selected electives, geologic and environmental surveying and prospecting

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Graduate programs in related fields
  • 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.

Minimum Units for Completion 23
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 137

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this minor in Astrogeology is to provide students with interests in planetary geology and surface processes with the foundational knowledge rooted in traditional geologic principles.  Similarly, students will also gain invaluable astronomical perspectives, building the perspectives of scale and geologic/astronomic time that are necessary to appreciate astronomical context.  Specific courses in planetary surface processes, the tools and techniques used to study such processes, and the underlying geologic principles that drive these processes will constitute the bulk of the required coursework.  Students minoring in Astrogeology will be ready to appreciate the recent and upcoming missions to planetary bodies throughout our solar system.  They will also be able to critically assess the geologic properties of planetary surfaces to better understand how these planetary bodies evolve over time.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students minoring in Astrogeology will be able to:

  • Understand the underlying planetary processes that drive geologic processes at or near planetary surfaces;
  • Describe the temporal evolution of planetary surfaces as they relate to the multitude of geologic and environmental processes at work;
  • Understand the tools and techniques used to study geologic processes on planetary surfaces; and
  • Critically evaluate the requirements necessary to perform “traditional” geologic field work on other planetary bodies.

Details

Minor Requirements

Campus Availability



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