Program Overview

The Georgia Tech Astrobiology Graduate Certificate Program is part of an initiative linking the Georgia Tech Schools of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, and Sam Nunn School of International Affairs

The purpose of the certificate program is to expand opportunities for students in the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology, which combines astronomy, biology, geosciences, chemistry, and physics to understand the origin, evolution, and possible distribution of life in the universe.

Unique components of the GT certificate program include the mission design course, in which students will forge innovative links between astrobiology science and engineering, and the science communication project, in which students will gain skills in translating astrobiology findings to the greater community.

The 12-credit embedded certificate program is open to graduate students enrolled in any degree program at Georgia Tech. There are no prerequisites for entering the program. More on graduate certificate programs at Georgia Tech here.

Martha Grover and Christine He

Requirements

  • Student must complete the two required core courses, one cognate course, one special topics course, and one mission design course (see list below).
  • All coursework must be completed with a grade of B or higher.

Curriculum

Required Core Courses (3 credit hours total)

Note: For certificate credit, both core courses (EAS 8001+EAS 8802) must be taken together in a spring semester (starting spring 2020).

EAS 8001: Planetary Science & Astrobiology Seminar (1 credit): Students will attend, participate, and (optional) present in weekly 50-minute ExplOrigins seminars. 

EAS 8802: Seminal Papers in Astrobiology (2 credits): This course will meet for two hours each week to discuss a different highly cited paper related to the weekly seminar topic and spanning astrobiology sub-disciplines. Students will also complete an independent science communication project. 

One Cognate Course (3 credit hours; 1 course from list below*):
AE 6353: Orbital Mechanics (every fall)
AE 6450: Rocket Propulsion (odd springs)
AE 6451: Electric Propulsion (odd falls)
BIOL/EAS 6765: Geomicrobiology (odd falls)
BIOL 6410: Microbial Ecology (odd springs)
BIOL 6428: Population Dynamics (even springs)
BIOL 6600: Evolution (every term)
BIOL 6607: Molecular Microbiology of Microbes (every spring)
BIOL 6720: Environmental Microbial Genomics (even springs)
CHEM 6572: Macromolecular Structure (every fall)
CHEM 6582: Biophysical Chemistry (every spring)
EAS 6122: Biogeochemical Cycles (odd springs)
EAS 6130: Earth System Modeling (every fall)
EAS 6200: Environmental Geochemistry (every fall)
EAS 6216: Isotope Geochemistry (odd springs)
EAS 6370: Physics of Planets (occasionally)
EAS 6375: Earth and Planetary Materials (odd springs)
EAS 6380: Land Remote Sensing (odd falls)

One Special Topics Course (3 credit hours; 1 course from list below*):
BIOL 7111: Molecular Evolution (every fall)
BIOL 8744: Microbial Symbiosis and Microbiomes (every spring)
BIOL 8803: Origin of Complex Life: Cells to Societies (even years)
CHEM 8803: Chemistry of the Origins & Early Evolution of Life (occasionally)
CHEM 8853: Structure, Function & Origins of Biological Macromolecules (even springs)
EAS 8803: Ice-Ocean Moons and Planets (occasionally)
EAS 8803: Origin of Planetary Systems (occasionally)
EAS 8803: Earth System Evolution in a Planetary Context (even springs)
INTA 8001: Science, Technology & International Affairs (every spring)
INTA 8803: Space Policy (every spring)

One Mission Design Course (3 credit hours; 1 course from list below*):
AE 6372: Aerospace Systems Engineering (every fall)
AE 6561: Reliable Control Software for Aerospace (odd springs)
AE 8803: Satellite Orbit Determination (odd springs)
AE 8803: Small Satellite Design I/II (even falls/odd springs)
AE 8803: Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control (new spring 2020)
CHEM 8813/8823: Instrument Design (even springs)
EAS 6360: Intro to Space Physics & Instrumentation (occasionally)
EAS 8803: Team X Spacecraft Design (occasionally)

*Students may petition to substitute cognate, special topics, and mission design course(s) with alternative courses that cover material of relevance to astrobiology. Courses cannot be used in more than one category.

Examples of how students in different graduate programs could complete this certificate:

AE graduate student
Spring 1: Core course (EAS 8001+8802)
Fall 1: Cognate course (see list above)
Spring 2: Mission course (any, see list above)
Fall 2: Special Topics course (see list above)

BIOL graduate student
Spring 1: Core course (EAS 8001+8802)
Fall 1: Cognate course (see list above)
Spring 2: Mission course (suggested: CHEM8823)
Fall 2: Special Topics course (see list above)

CHEM graduate student
Spring 1: Core course (EAS 8001+8802)
Fall 1: Cognate course (see list above)
Spring 2: Mission course (suggested: CHEM 8823)
Fall 2: Special Topics course (see list above)

EAS graduate student
Spring 1: Core course (EAS 8001+8802)
Fall 1: Cognate course (see list above)
Spring 2: Mission course (suggested: EAS 6360 or 8803)
Fall 2: Special Topics course (see list above)

If you have met the requirements to complete the Astrobiology Graduate Certificate, complete this form and email it to Prof. Jennifer Glass jennifer.glass@eas.gatech.edu. Please do not submit the form until you have completed all of the requirements for the certificate. Certificates will be awarded at the next ExplOrigins Astrobiology Symposium (annually during spring semester).

If you are interested in receiving more information about the certificate program, please contact Prof. Jennifer Glass at jennifer.glass@eas.gatech.edu.