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.
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
Electives (choose three) -- 9 credit hours
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.
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.
The employment prospects of graduates completing the planetary science certificate will be enhanced by the potential for employment at the intersection of these fields, including:
- community college and university educators teaching Earth science or astronomy classes
- docents at science museums and planetariums
- faculty and researchers at universities working on federally-funded planetary science research, instruments or missions
- K-12 educators for programs with Earth science or astronomy curriculum
- researchers in aerospace companies contracted to build subsystems, instruments or missions for federally-funded planetary science research
Examples of places in Arizona where such jobs are offered include Arizona public universities, Mesa Community College, United States Geological Survey, Lowell Observatory and the Planetary Science Institute. Arizona companies that employ people in these fields include World View, Paragon, Freefall, General Dynamics, Qwaltec and KinetX. National companies include Lockheed, Honeywell, Ball, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Intuitive Machines, Firefly, Northrup, Axiom, Planet Labs, Blue Canyon Technologies, Astrobotic and iSpace.
Graduates could also find employment in federal labs or as congressional staff.
Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions.
- Growth: 4.6%
- Median Salary*: 128330
- Growth: 35.2%
- Median Salary*: 103500
Educational Instruction and Library Workers, All Other
- Growth: 2.3%
- Median Salary*: 47650
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers
- Growth: 5.1%
- Median Salary*: 87480
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary
- Growth: 3.6%
- Median Salary*: 97770
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
- Growth: 1%
- Median Salary*: 62360
Biochemists and Biophysicists
- Growth: 6.7%
- Median Salary*: 103810
* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).
Program Contact Information
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For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.
Concurrent degree programs are specially designed academic programs which provide high-achieving undergraduate students the opportunity to complete two distinct but complementary bachelor degrees at the same time. Students must meet minimum admissions standards for both programs and be accepted individually by both colleges offering the concurrent program.
Accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs are designed for high-achieving undergraduate students who want the opportunity to combine undergraduate coursework with graduate coursework to accelerate completion of their master's degree. These programs feature the same high-quality curriculum taught by ASU's world-renowned faculty.
ASU students may accelerate their studies by earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in as little as five years (for some programs) or by earning a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 or 3 years.
Accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs are designed for high-achieving undergraduate students who want the opportunity to combine undergraduate coursework with graduate coursework to accelerate completion of their master’s degree. These programs, featuring the same high-quality curriculum taught by ASU's world-renowned faculty, allow students to obtain both a bachelor's and a master's degree in as little as five years.
Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs allow students to choose either a 2.5- or a 3-year path while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students can opt to fast-track their studies after acceptance into a participating program by connecting with their academic advisor.
This is only the first required math course. This program may contain additional math courses; See Major Map for details.
The level of intensity represents a measure of the number and academic rigor of math courses required.
The level of intensity represents a measure of the number and academic rigor of math courses required. Courses included in the General level: MAT 142
The level of intensity represents a measure of the number and academic rigor of math courses required. Courses included in the Moderate level: MAT 117, MAT 119, MAT 170, MAT 210, SOS 101, CPI 200
The level of intensity represents a measure of the number and academic rigor of math courses required. Courses included in the Substantial level: MAT 251, MAT 265. MAT 266, MAT 267, MAT 270, MAT 271, MAT 272, MAT 274, MAT 275
To add a minor, please consult with the academic advisor for your major.
To add a certificate, please consult with the academic advisor for your major.
A rolling deadline means that applications will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis until the semester begins. International students should be mindful of visa deadlines to ensure there is time to produce necessary visa documents. Applicants are encouraged to complete and submit application materials as soon as possible for consideration.
A final deadline means that all applications and application materials must be received by Graduate Admissions by the deadline date. Applications that are incomplete may not be considered after the final deadline. Applications that are submitted past the final deadline may not be considered.
A priority deadline means that applications submitted and completed before the priority deadline will receive priority consideration. Applications submitted after the priority deadlines will be reviewed in the order in which they were completed and on a space available basis. An application is complete after all materials are received by Graduate Admissions.