BA in Geophysics & Planetary Sciences

Changes to this program will take effect in the 2016–2017 academic year.

The major in Geophysics & Planetary Sciences provides students with broad knowledge of the principles of astronomy, especially in relation to geophysics and planetary sciences topics such as planetary geology, planetary atmospheres, and planetary interiors. A bachelor’s degree in Geophysics & Planetary Sciences prepares students for research in geophysics, geodynamics, seismology, and planetary science or careers in science education, management, geotechnical consulting, computing, or science writing.


A total of 16 courses are required, all completed with a grade of C or higher. Unless otherwise noted, all required courses are 4 credit hours.

Principal (Required) Courses

  • CAS AS 202
  • CAS AS 311
  • one 100-level ES course (or CAS GE 104)
  • CAS ES 360
  • CAS MA 123
  • CAS MA 124
  • CAS MA 225
  • CAS CH 101 (or CAS CH 131)
  • CAS PY 211 (or CAS PY 251)
  • CAS PY 212 (or CAS PY 252)
  • CAS PY 355 (or CAS PY 403)
  • CAS PY 405 (or CAS PY 408)
  • at least four courses from the following, one of which must be at the 400 level or above, not all in the same department:
    • CAS AS 312
    • CAS AS 414
    • CAS AS 441
    • CAS ES 222
    • CAS ES 301
    • CAS ES 371
    • CAS ES 483
    • CAS ES 505
    • CAS ES 581
    • CAS GE 302
    • CAS GE 310
    • CAS GE 312
    • CAS PY 313 (or CAS PY 351)
    • CAS PY 410
    • CAS PY 405 (or CAS PY 408), if not already taken

Students entering the program with strong calculus skills may substitute CAS MA 127 or CAS MA 129 for the combination of CAS MA 123 and CAS MA 124, in consultation with their academic advisor.

Recommended Courses

Any from the above list of courses, if not taken as a principal course, in addition to CAS CH 102, CS 111, and CS 112.

Cross-Registration with Boston College

The Boston Area Consortium permits degree candidates at Boston University to pursue courses in areas of fluid mechanics and geophysics at Boston College. (Cross-registration course numbers are designated by the abbreviation “XAS” for undergraduate students.)

Further information and the required Registration Form can be found at the Office of the University Registrar’s Boston Area Consortia webpage.