Aug 04, 2021  
School of Graduates Studies Calendar, 2020-2021 
School of Graduates Studies Calendar, 2020-2021 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Astrobiology Doctoral Specialization

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The Origins Institute in collaboration with five “home” departments offers Canada’s first graduate program in Astrobiology. The “Collaborative Graduate Program in Astrobiology” offers students an M.Sc. or Ph.D. in the rapidly emerging interdisciplinary science of Astrobiology. Students must be accepted to do graduate studies in any of five participating home departments: Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Physics and Astronomy, and the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. Astrobiology is an intrinsically interdisciplinary, or perhaps more appropriately ‘transdisciplinary,’ science. Researchers must possess expertise in specific fields such as astrophysics, microbiology, planetary sciences, biochemistry and chemistry, etc. but also must have the training that allows them to work effectively within multidisciplinary teams. Our graduate program provides this kind of training and research opportunities.

A candidate will register for the M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree in any of the participating five departments and, in addition to the special regulations summarized below, will be subject to the general regulations and course/thesis requirements that govern graduate work in the department in which he/she is registered. As part of their application process, they must also provide a written (online) statement describing their interests in astrobiology and the research that they would be interested in pursuing.

The Astrobiology portion is carried out by the OI in close collaboration with these departments. Some course work and research seminars in astrobiology (see below), as well as Astrobiological research and thesis, lie at the heart of the program. Successful completion of the program will provide students an ‘Astrobiology Specialization’ to complement their home degree, and graduates will be qualified to pursue further research and work in the field.

Core Faculty Members

The core faculty members in the program supervise the Astrobiological graduate research and also teach the graduate courses in the program. They are Profs. R. Gupta, Y-F Li, G. Wright (Biochemistry); J. Stone, J.P. Xu, and B. Golding (Biology); P. Harrison (Chemistry); P. Higgs, R.E. Pudritz, M. Rheinstadter, and J. Wadsley (Physics and Astronoy); and C. Eyles, G. Slater, and L. Warren (Earth Sciences).

Course Requirements

Required courses are defined according to prescriptions for each home program. Additionally, M.Sc. students are required to take a one term, ORIGINS 701 Survey of Astrobiology  course and the bimonthly ORIGINS 705 Astrobiology Research Seminar and Journal Club  course. Doctoral students are required to complete (one term) course work from outside their research area, from the Astrobiology course list as well as the ORIGINS 705 . With supervisory committee permission, the courses below and entries in the Astrobiology course list could count toward requirements for a home program. All students are required to attend the Origins Institute Colloquium series. This is an important resource for students, as they will have the opportunity to interact directly with distinguished leaders and scientists in the field. Doctoral students must complete a Comprehensive exam that is administered by their home department.

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