What Is An Astrobiology Degree?
To our knowledge, Florida Tech’s astrobiology degree program is the first and only undergraduate astrobiology program in the country. If you’re interested in the potential for life on other planets, studying the theory of abiogenesis is key.
Students in the astrobiology program receive a broad education in areas that include planetary science, extrasolar planets, and the origin of life. At the same time, students take a solid core of mathematics, physics, and biology courses, allowing them to pursue a wide range of interests.
Astrobiology degree graduates are ready for graduate studies in astrophysics, planetary science, or biology, as well as careers in the aerospace or biotech-related industries. Whether you want to study the effects of space travel on humans, discover past or present microbial life on Mars, or help develop ways to sustain life on the moon, you will be well prepared with an astrobiology degree from Florida Tech. Here, you'll develop a strong background in physics and biology and get hands-on experience with space science technologies.
Gain Practical Experience
The faculty advisor to Astrobiology program majors is a former astronaut who conducted astronomy research in two space shuttle missions. As a student in the program, your first year includes a first-year seminar that provides an excellent introduction to the career options and research areas open to students majoring in astrobiology.
Florida Tech professors encourage all students seeking an astrobiology degree to become involved in activities and research projects for immediate immersion in "real science," not just text learning. Students typically join a research group early in their study at Florida Tech and get experience in hands-on, high-caliber research. You can also undertake exciting collaborative research with a peer or professor, or work independently on a topic of your choosing. As a result, you get practical experience, an enhanced job search portfolio, and the perfect preparation for graduate and professional school or employment.
Earn An Advanced Degree
After receiving their astrobiology degree, many of our students go on to master and doctoral programs at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities, including Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, and Yale.
Peerless Internship Opportunities
In preparation for an astrobiology career, Florida Tech students often take part in internships with local and national companies. Some of these companies include:
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Sandia National Labs
The American Institute of Physics
These internship opportunities allow our students to gather the necessary experience to put them ahead of the competition when searching for an astrobiology career.
Florida Tech also hosts the SARA Research Experience for Undergraduates program, a summer internship program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.
Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Professors strongly encourage students to get actively involved in research by joining one of the department’s research groups. Currently, our faculty are involved in observing and categorizing the properties of exoplanets and is in the process of developing a multi-spectrum camera intended for use on the International Space Station. Astrobiology students involved in projects that require unique instrumentation have access to the Space Life Sciences Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center. In addition, they are frequently admitted to the NASA Space Academy and other similar programs.
Research activities include measuring the adhesion properties of dust grains to understand the important processes in the formation of planets and the effects of cosmic radiation on the human body. Collaboration with faculty in the biology department involves studies on the effects of the space environment on long-term missions involving humans—especially important with the new focus on traveling to Mars. NASA’s Space Academy also frequently allows our astrobiology students to take part in exciting training and research. These types of hands-on experiences give students a real-world view of an astrobiology career.
The undergraduate space sciences program for the astrobiology major is designed for students interested in pursuing a broad range of space-related careers, either on completion of the bachelor’s degree program or after completing graduate studies. The emphasis in the curriculum for the astrobiology major is on achieving a broad yet rigorous education in the basic physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences as a foundation for successful entry into any of the many subfields of modern space science activity.
This program is interdisciplinary and designed to meet the needs of students intending to pursue graduate education in astrobiology, astrophysics, planetary sciences, or biology.
Fall (16 credit hours)
CHM 1101 General Chemistry 1
COM 1101 Composition and Rhetoric
FYE 1000 University Experience
MTH 1001 Calculus 1 * or MTH 1010 Honors Calculus 1
PHY 1050 Physics and Space Science Seminar
SPS 1020 Introduction to Space Sciences *
Spring (16 credit hours)
CHM 1102 General Chemistry 2
COM 1102 Writing About Literature
MTH 1002 Calculus 2 or MTH 1020 Honors Calculus 2
PHY 1001 Physics 1
PHY 2091 Physics Laboratory 1
Fall (16 credit hours)
BIO 1010 Biological Discovery 1
BIO 1030 Introduction to Biotechnology
MTH 2001 Calculus 3 or MTH 2010 Honors Calculus 3
PHY 2002 Physics 2
PHY 2092 Physics Laboratory 2
Select first HUM Core Course:
HUM 2051 Civilization 1: Ancient Through Medieval
HUM 2141 World Art History 1: Pre-History to Early Global Awareness
HUM 2211 British Literature and Culture
HUM 2212 British and American Literature 1
HUM 2331 American History: Pre-Columbian to Civil War Era
HUM 2551 Survey of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Spring (17 credit hours)
BIO 1020 Biological Discovery 2
BIO 1040 Introduction to Biodiversity and Physiology
COM 2223 Scientific and Technical Communication
MTH 2201 Differential Equations/Linear Algebra or MTH 3200 Honors Differential Equations
PHY 2003 Modern Physics
Restricted Elective (CSE 15xx) Credit Hours: 3
Fall (17 credit hours)
CHM 2001 Organic Chemistry 1
PHY 3011 Physical Mechanics
PHY 3060 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory and Statistical Mechanics **
Humanities Elective (HU) 3000-level or higher recommended Credit Hours: 3
Select second HUM Core Course:
HUM 2052 Civilization 2: Renaissance Through Modern
HUM 2142 World Art History 2: Early Modern to Post-Colonial
HUM 2212 British and American Literature 1 (may not be repeated for credit)
HUM 2213 British and American Literature 2
HUM 2332 American History: From Reconstruction to the Present
HUM 2552 Survey of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
Spring (17 credit hours)
BIO 2010 Microbiology
CHM 2002 Organic Chemistry 2
PHY 3035 Quantum Mechanics **
PHY 3440 Electromagnetic Theory
SPS 4039 Astrobiology
Fall (15 credit hours)
BIO 2110 General Genetics
BIO 4010 Biochemistry 1
SPS 4010 Astrophysics 1: Introduction to Stellar Structure and Evolution
SPS 4200 Senior Seminar 1 (Q)
Social Science Elective Credit Hours: 3
Spring (14 credit hours)
BIO 4110 Biochemistry 2
MAR 3701 Evolution or SPS 4030 Physics of the Atmosphere
BIO 4101 Molecular Biology
SPS 4210 Senior Seminar 2 (Q)
Restricted Elective (PHY/SPS 3000-level or higher) Credit Hours: 3
Total Credits Required: 128
*Students should register for SPS 1020 Introduction to Space Sciences. If a student places into MTH 1002 Calculus 2 or MTH 1020 Honors Calculus 2, the student is encouraged to take PHY 1001 Physics 1 in the first semester and SPS 1020 Introduction to Space Sciences later in the program.
**Students may elect to substitute the eight credit hours from CHM 3001 Physical Chemistry 1, CHM 3002 Physical Chemistry 2, and CHM 2011 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1 for PHY 3035 Quantum Mechanics and PHY 3060 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics.
Undergraduates and graduate students with a BS in Astrobiology can look forward to an astrobiology career in such fields as:
Space sciences research
Graduate And Doctoral Programs
More than half of Florida Tech's astrobiology degree students attend graduate school. In addition to the master’s and doctoral programs at Florida Tech, recent astrobiology degree graduates have been accepted to graduate programs at such prestigious institutions as:
Ohio State University
SUNY Stony Brook
University of Arizona
University of Florida
University of Texas