UA Science

You are here

General Education

Welcome to the Department of Astronomy's general education class web site. The department currently offers six courses that can be used to satisfy general education degree requirements, ASTR 170B1, ASTR 201, ASTR 202, ASTR 203, ASTR 204, ASTR 206. The University catalog descriptions of each course are given below. Here we provide a brief summary of the offerings and our recommendations.

ASTR 170B1 -- The Physical Universe (3 units)
Description:This course presents an introduction to the science of Astronomy placed in the broader context of the physical sciences. Our survey of the Universe will include our current understanding of our Solar System, stars, the Milky Way Galaxy, other galaxies, and the large-scale structure and evolution of the Universe. We will also cover the basic principles of physics, chemistry, and geology needed to interpret astronomical observations. The application of the scientific method will be emphasized throughout the course.
Approved as: Tier One: Natural Sciences (NATS)
Usually offered: Fall, Spring.

ASTR 201 -- Cosmology (3 units)
Description: Extragalactic astronomy and cosmology are among the fastest developing fields in astronomy. This course presents cosmology as a modern, quantitative science. It describes what we know about galaxies, the large scale structure of the universe and the beginnings and evolution of the Universe. We know quite a bit, assume a lot and have a great deal to learn. The course critically examines our picture of the universe using lectures, a hands-on project, and discussion groups.
Prerequisite(s): two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences (NATS 101, 102, 104).
Approved as: General Education Tier Two - Natural Sciences.
Usually offered: Fall, Spring

ASTR 202 -- Life in the Universe (3 units)
Description: The main goal for students in this course is to have fun learning about the possibilities for life in the Universe and, in the process, gain an appreciation for the methods used in science. To achieve this goal, we will study such seemingly diverse topics as the origin of the Universe, heavy element production, the formation of stars and planets, the nature of planets and their atmospheres, basic chemistry, geological and atmospheric evolution, biological evolution, cultural and technological evolution, interstellar travel, and communication techniques.
Prerequisite(s): two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences (NATS 101, 102, 104).
Approved as: General Education Tier Two - Natural Sciences.
Usually offered: Fall, Spring.

ASTR 203 -- Stars (3 units)
Description: This course, intended for non-science majors, provides an in-depth and comprehensive study of the stars. Topics to be covered include: the role of stars in human history and how they were named, the classification and properties of stars, star formation and evolution, nuclear fusion, black holes, and the distribution of stars in our Galaxy. Basic principles of physics which are needed to understand the stars (e.g. gravity, light, atomic structure) will also be reviewed.
Prerequisite(s): two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences (NATS 101, 102, 104).
Approved as: General Education Tier Two - Natural Sciences.
Usually offered: Fall, Spring

ASTR 204 -- Great Debates in Astronomy (3 units)
Description:
This course examines questions such as: How old is the Universe? Where did the Moon come from? and Should astronauts or robots explore space? Students will study the methods and personalities behind key discoveries, participate in classroom debates, and argue their positions in detailed essays.
Prerequisite(s): two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences (NATS 101, 102, 104).
Approved as: General Education Tier Two - Natural Sciences.
Usually offered: Fall, Spring

ASTR 206 -- Our Golden Age of Planetary Exploration (3 units)
Description:
We will review current understanding of the contents of our Solar System and emphasize the processes that unite all of the planets and smaller bodies, such as tectonics, weathering, cratering, differentiation, and the evolution of oceans and atmospheres. The course will build on this knowledge to understand humankind's motivation to explore beyond our Solar System, especially to search for planets around distant stars and to look or listen for evidence of life elsewhere in the Universe.
Prerequisite(s): two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences (NATS 101, 102, 104).
Approved as: General Education Tier Two - Natural Sciences. Identical to: PTYS 206; PTYS is home department.
Usually offered: Fall, Spring.

For further information contact the Astronomy Academic Office at the address given elsewhere. For more class information and links to class availability, click here.

For Further Information contact:

Department of Astronomy Academic Office
933 N Cherry Avenue, Room N204
Tucson AZ 85721-0065
Phone: (520) 621-2288
Fax: (520) 621-1532