Earth and Space Exploration (Exploration Systems Design), BS

As an earth and space exploration major, you will be crossing the boundaries of science and engineering while preparing for a new era of exploration. In the exploration systems design concentration you can build space-flight hardware, engineer solutions to explore extreme environments and take a systems-based approach to scientific discovery.

Program Description

The BS program in earth and space exploration with a concentration in exploration systems design offers students a fundamental curriculum in geology, physics and astrophysics while providing tools that enable them to design and build hardware and software to explore Earth and the universe beyond.

The program has a rigorous and quantitative grounding in the fundamentals of physics, mathematics and chemistry. Upon that foundation, students learn how to design hardware and software for scientific exploration. Coursework focuses on conceiving the requirements needed for a mission or project destined for space or extreme environments on Earth.

Each student in this program has the opportunity to learn how projects and missions are designed and planned, starting with the scientific drivers and then defining engineering specifications. All students are expected to complete a senior project that takes a desired scientific measurement and realizes the technological solution to achieve the observation.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit The College's website for more information and requirements.

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

Major Map on-campus archive

What if: See how your courses can be applied to another major and find out how to change your major.

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: Tempe campus
  • Additional Program Fee: Yes
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • First Required Math Course: MAT 265 - Calculus for Engineers I
  • Math Intensity: Substantial program math intensity substantial

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site:

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to for information about how to change a major to this program.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Electrical Engineering, MSE

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Astrophysics and Astronomy, MS

Prepare yourself to discover new planets, explore cosmology, and build space-flight hardware and instruments for telescopes and satellites. You can work with world-class faculty on NASA- and NSF-funded space missions, seeking answers to questions about how our universe began and how it continues to evolve.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Instrumentation), MS

Prepare for your professional or academic career with a program that combines the strengths of science and engineering. You can work with faculty in the natural sciences and engineering to design instrumentation for exploration, including digital systems and circuits, computer-controlled systems, analog-to-digital converters and solid-state electronics.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design, MS

Become a part of the next generation of researchers, those who are capable of inventing and implementing the next generation of scientific experiments, instruments and missions for Earth, planetary and space explorations.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Systems Engineering), MS

Prepare for a professional or academic career through this program that combines the creative strengths of science and engineering. You can study artificial intelligence, human factors engineering, smart materials and structures, and robot modeling with faculty specializing in the natural sciences, instrumentation design and systems engineering.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Sensor Networks), MS

Combine your interests in exploration systems design and sensor networks with the strengths of science and engineering to prepare for a professional or academic career. Study computer networks, Earth systems engineering, multidimensional signal processing, and information and random signal theory with faculty who specialize in the natural sciences and instrumentation design.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Career Outlook

Career opportunities include:

  • astronomer
  • geoscientist
  • planetary scientist
  • science policy intern
  • science writer
  • scientific instrumentation specialist
  • space systems engineer
  • systems engineer

Sample career settings include:

  • aerospace industry
  • federal government
  • manufacturing
  • NASA centers
  • national laboratories
  • observatories
  • publishers
  • space industries
  • universities and colleges

This program also provides suitable preparation for graduate study.

Example Careers

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. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Aerospace Engineer

  • Growth: 6.1%
  • Median Salary*: $126,880

Computer Science Professor

  • Growth: 5.3%
  • Median Salary*: $84,760

Computer Software Quality Engineer

  • Growth: 20.3%
  • Median Salary*: $99,620
  Bright Outlook

Computer Systems Architect

  • Growth: 9.7%
  • Median Salary*: $98,740
  Bright Outlook

Electrical Engineering Professor

  • Growth: 9.3%
  • Median Salary*: $103,550
  Bright Outlook

Engineering Manager

  • Growth: 4.1%
  • Median Salary*: $159,920

Supply Chain Engineer

  • Growth: 11.7%
  • Median Salary*: $96,350
  Bright Outlook

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

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.