Planetary Science  (Certificate)

Explore strange new worlds in our solar system and beyond. Learn how to assess their geologic evolution, surface environments, atmospheres, and to search for possible bio-signatures. Learn new skills to enhance your preparation for exciting careers, with opportunities in the burgeoning space exploration industry in Arizona and across the nation.

Program Description

The certificate program in planetary science prepares undergraduate students in topics related to the formation and evolution of planetary bodies and associated remote sensing technologies employed in these studies. The program includes specific training in the areas of the origins of planetary systems, tectonics, volcanism, geomorphology and remote mapping of surficial geology using spacecraft and land-based observational data. Additional skills may include understanding of planetary atmospheres, astrobiology, geodynamics and cosmochemistry.

This interdisciplinary program prepares students for technical career paths, and helps prepare students to best engage with exciting opportunities in the frontier of planetary exploration.

Major/Certificate Map archive

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No

Program Requirements

Certificate courses may have prerequisites, the most common of which are listed below. Additional enrollment requirements may include completion of these courses or their equivalents with a "C" or better:

  • GLG 101/103 Introduction to Geology I (Physical), and Laboratory or SES 121/123 Earth, Solar System and Universe, and Laboratory
  • a math course at the level of MAT 266 Calculus 2 or higher
  • a chemistry course at the level of CHM 113 or higher
  • a physics course at the level of PHY 121/122 or higher

A student pursuing an undergraduate certificate must be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at ASU. Undergraduate certificates are not awarded prior to the award of an undergraduate degree. A student already holding an undergraduate degree may pursue an undergraduate certificate as a nondegree-seeking graduate student.

Required Coursework

The certificate requires a minimum of 18 credit hours. At least 12 credit hours must be completed in upper-division coursework and at least nine credit hours must be completed at ASU. At least six upper-division hours in the certificate must be completed in courses offered by The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A grade of "C" (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or higher is required for each course used to fulfill a certificate requirement.

Required Courses (9-10 credit hours) -- 9 credit hours

AST 111: Introduction to Solar Systems Astronomy (SQ) or GLG 101: Introduction to Geology I (Physical) (SQ) or SES 100: Introduction to Exploration (CS) or SES 106: Habitable Worlds (SQ) or SES 107: A Solar System Journey (SG) or SES 121: Earth, Solar System and Universe (SQ) (3-4)

GLG 404: Fundamentals of Planetary Geology (3)

SES 421: Foundations of Planetary Science (3)

Electives (choose three) -- 9 credit hours

AST 494: Exoplanets (3)

GLG 321: Mineralogy or GLG 424: Petrology (3)

GLG 362: Geomorphology (3)

GLG 406: Geology of Mars (3)

GLG 418: Geophysics or GLG 419: Geodynamics (3)

GLG 420: Volcanology or GLG 422: Planetary Volcanology (3)

GLG 485: Meteorites and Cosmochemistry (3)

GLG 490: Remote Sensing (3)

SES 294: Introduction to Space Weather (3)

SES 311: Essentials of Astrobiology: Exploration for Life in the Universe or GLG 460: Astrobiology (3)

SES 494: Geology of Venus (3)

SES 494: Planetary Interiors (3)

Students may also use other courses as electives, especially special topics courses (SES/AST/GLG 494 and/or GLG 490), chosen in consultation with an academic advisor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Prerequisite courses may be needed in order to complete the requirements of this certificate.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

  • 480/965-5081