How do planets form? How common are they in the universe? What is their range of properties and how do they evolve? Is there or was there ever life on other planets? These are the questions asked and explored in planetary science, an emerging interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the origin and evolution of both our solar system and others.

A collaboration between the Astronomy Department and Earth and Environmental Science (E&ES), planetary science is offered as a minor only.

What You'll Study

  • Planetary science at Wesleyan focuses on the origin of planetary systems, planetary geology and geochemistry, and the application of remote sensing to terrestrial environmental problems, incorporating results from observational astronomy, planetary image analyses and the laboratory and field studies of Earth analogous to other planets.
  • As a planetary science minor, you'll gain exposure to fundamental themes, tools and topics that are relevant to future careers in the planetary science or in general science. The 5-course minor consists of two introductory courses (one in astronomy and one in E&ES), three intermediate courses, and at least three semesters of planetary science seminar.
  • Students are urged to do research with a faculty member in the Planetary Science Group. Research can be done during the semester or over the summer.