Astrogeophysics - Major - Course Catalogue Skip Navigation


(For 2016–2017 academic year)

Director J. Levine

The astrogeophysics major is a multidisciplinary program for students interested in the study of the solar system and planetary matter. Drawing on astronomical observations, physical models, chemical constraints, and geological interpretations, students consider the Earth in its planetary context, the processes that have shaped Earth and other planets through time, and our place in the Universe. Students learn to appreciate or participate in the ongoing discovery of planets throughout the galaxy, and to reflect critically on their similarities with and differences from our own world. Astrogeophysics majors develop intellectual tools from across the physical sciences to reason qualitatively and quantitatively about global issues, such as the accelerating pace of global change and planetary habitability. Interested students should consult the program director as early as possible to plan an appropriate sequence of courses, since many of the required courses have prerequisites.

Major Program

The astrogeophysics major requirements below are for majors beginning with the Class of 2016. Majors in earlier classes may opt to complete these requirements or those in effect when they declared their major. 
  1. One introductory course in a physical science, with a grade of C– or higher, from the following list:
    ASTR 101, Solar System Astronomy
    ASTR 102, Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
    ASTR 165, How Old Is the Universe?
    CHEM 101/101L, General Chemistry I
    CHEM 102/102L, General Chemistry II
    CHEM 111/111L, Chemical Principles
    GEOL101/101L, Environmental Geology
    GEOL 105, Megageology
    GEOL 110/110L, Geology Outdoors
    GEOL 115, Evolution: Dinosaurs to Darwin
    GEOL 120, The Geology of America’s Parks
    GEOL 135, Oceanography
    GEOL 190/190L, Evolution of Planet Earth
    PHYS 131/131L, Atoms and Waves
  2. GEOL 201/201L, Mineralogy and GEOL 202/202L, Petrology
  3. PHYS 232/232L, Introduction to Mechanics and PHYS 233/233L, Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
  4. MATH 111, Calculus I; MATH 112, Calculus II; and MATH 113, Multivariable Calculus 
  5. One course in astrophysics (either ASTR 210 or ASTR 414) and one other advanced astronomy course (300 or higher)
  6. One senior research course: PHYS 410, Advanced Topics and Experiments, or GEOL 441, Senior Research Seminar
  7. Three other advanced courses chosen from the following: physics or astronomy (300 or higher), geology (203 or higher), or chemistry (300 or higher)

    At least one of these courses must be in geology, and at least one must be in physics or astronomy. Students should select these courses in consultation with the academic adviser and/or the astrogeophysics program director. These courses are to provide depth and rigor to the student’s academic program, but students are given freedom to tailor their astrogeophysics program to match particular interests.

Honors and High Honors

To qualify for graduation with honors, a student must complete one additional advanced course in astronomy, geology, or physics beyond the basic requirements. In addition, a minimum GPA of 3.33 is required in advanced courses for the major. High honors are awarded at the joint discretion of the Department of Geology and the Department of Physics and Astronomy on the basis of GPA and, in particular, for outstanding achievement in senior research.