Courses

UW Astrobiology offers a variety of graduate coursework in astrobiology (both core courses and electives on featured topics), as well as an introductory course at the undergraduate level. A list of our current courses can be found below:

 Undergraduate

 
  • ASTBIO 115 - “Life in the Universe” (5 credits). Cross-listed As: ASTR 115, BIOL 115, ESS 115, OCEAN 114.

Introduction to the new science of astrobiology, the study of the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and the search for microbial and intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Designed for non-science, liberal arts majors. Satisfies “Natural World” Requirement.

 

Graduate

 
  • ASTBIO 501 - “Astrobiology Disciplines” (4 credits). Offered in Autumn, alternate years.

Review of research and subject matter relevant to astrobiology from within the disciplines of biology, astronomy, oceanography, atmospheric science, chemistry, planetary science, and geology.

  • ASTBIO 502 - “Astrobiology Topics” (4 credits). Offered in Autumn, alternate years.

Investigation in detail of research topics of current interest.

  • ASTBIO 550 - "Professional Development for Astrobiologists" (2 credits). Offered in Winter or Spring, alternate years.

Seminar in preparation for the academic job market: writing and reviewing grant proposals, building and managing interdisciplinary research teams, understanding the multiple career paths available in astrobiology, interdisciplinary teaching, and professional ethics.

  • ASTBIO 575 - "Astrobiology Winter Seminar" (1 credit). Offered in Winter.

Largely peer taught seminar that explores an Astrobiology research topic in detail. 

  • ASTBIO 576 - "Astrobiology Colloquium" (1 credit). Typically offered Fall and Spring.

Colloquium on current Astrobiology research given largely by visiting scientists.  

  • ASTBIO 600 - "Astrobiology Research Rotation" (3 credits, minimum). Can be taken any time.

A research experience in a different research environment to the student's home department or as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration. 
 

Elective & Cognate Courses

 
  • ASTR 497 - “Topics in Current Astronomy”

“Topics” courses vary frequently and only some versions will satisfy the astrobiology cognate requirement. Check with the instructor or your advisor before enrolling. Previous approved versions include “Exoplanets” (Prof. Meadows) and “Planetary Science & Astrobiology” (Prof. Catling).

  • ASTR 555 - “Planetary Atmospheres”. Cross-listed As: ATM S 555, ESS 581.
  • ASTR 556 - “Planetary Surfaces”
  • ASTR 557 - “Origin of the Solar System”. Cross-listed As: ESS 583.
  • ATM S 508 - “Geochemical Cycles”. Cross-listed As: OCEAN 523, CHEM 523.
  • ESS 450 - “Paleobiology”
  • ESS 490 - “Special Topics”

“Topics” courses vary frequently and only some versions will satisfy the astrobiology cognate requirement. Check with the instructor or your advisor before enrolling. Previous approved versions include “Planetary Science & Astrobiology” (Prof. Catling).

  • ESS 517 - “Early Earth Evolution”
  • ESS 581 - “Planetary Atmospheres"
  • ESS 590 - “Special Topics”

“Topics” courses vary frequently and only some versions will satisfy the astrobiology cognate requirement. Check with the instructor or your advisor before enrolling. Previous approved versions include “Geomicrobiology” (Prof. Buick, Prof. Gorman-Lewis).

  • GENOME 570 - “Phylogenetic Inference”
  • MICROM 530 - “Evolution of Prokaryotic Diversity"
  • OCEAN 530 - “Marine Bacteria, Archaea, and Viruses”
  • OCEAN 570 - “Marine Microbial Interactions”