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ASU Will Offer World's First Online Astronomical Sciences Degree

The goal is to make "exploration of our universe accessible and inclusive," the school's director said.

Starting in the fall 2020 semester, Arizona State University (ASU) will be offering a new 100 percent online bachelor’s degree in astronomical and planetary sciences.

Offered by the School of Earth and Space Exploration through ASU Online, the degree is the world's first online accredited undergraduate astronomy degree that allows students to explore and understand the cosmos.

RELATED: 9 OF THE WORLD'S MOST INFLUENTIAL EARLY ASTRONOMERS

A world-first for education in world-exploration 

The degree program will include courses in astronomy, engineering systems, and planetary science with a range of choices that will allow students to customize the degree to their specific interests.

In a press release, ASU said the course is designed for students interested in careers in technology and science journalism and writing, science policy, statistical data analysis, and computer programming.

“Our goal is to make the exploration of our solar system and universe accessible and inclusive,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, the school’s director. “This fully online degree will not only offer many more students the opportunity to learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy and planetary sciences [...], it will also help students develop skills in complex problem-solving, critical thinking and communication that will prepare them for a range of careers.”

Learning about the cosmos

Amongst the staff from ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration who will be teaching as a professor for the online degree is astrobiologist and President’s Professor Ariel Anbar. Anbar will be teaching Habitable Worlds, a course that will focus on exoplanets and how the conditions on Earth make life possible.

“I’m excited to share with students a transformational way to teach science online,” said Anbar. “Students will be formulating hypotheses based on data, testing those hypotheses, and applying what they learn in simulations and virtual field trips.”

Prospective Software Engineers might also be interested in a course called Engineering Systems and Experimental Problem Solving which will be taught by Astrophysicist Nat Butler. The applied computer science course will aid students in learning how to use Python, a high-level general-purpose programming language, to analyze and interpret astronomical data.

These and other courses within the degree no doubt present a great opportunity for more students worldwide to learn their craft in astrophysics, astronomy, and software engineering — and we're all for that.

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