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Course Listing


Classes at UCLA that touch directly on planet or exoplanet science are listed below.  For complete listings and course prerequisites, visit the official course catalog for the Physics and Astronomy, EPSS, and AOS departments.  Courses with numbers in the 100s are at the upper division undergraduate level, while those with course numbers in the 200s are classes at the graduate level.

Course Name
Course Description
EPSS3AstrobiologyOrigin, evolution, distribution, and future of life on Earth and in universe, paralleling major scientific initiative of NASA.
EPSS7Perils of Space: Introduction to Space WeatherConcepts of plasma physics. Dynamic sun, solar wind, and Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere. Space storms and substorms and their impacts on astronauts, spacecraft, and surface power and communication grids.
EPSS9Solar System and PlanetsProperties of sun, planets, asteroids, and comets. Astronomical observations relevant to understanding solar system and its origin. Dynamical problems, including examination of fallacious hypotheses. Meteoritic evidence regarding earliest history of solar system. Chemical models of solar nebula. Space exploration and its planning.
EPSS10Exploring Mars, Red PlanetHistory and future of Mars exploration, origin of planet, surface materials, and atmosphere. History of climate. Questions regarding water and life. Scientific and practical issues in mission design.
EPSS51Mineralogy: Earth and Planetary MaterialsMineral structure and bonding and crystal chemistry, with focus on materials of interest for Earth and planetary sciences and major rock-forming minerals.
EPSS123Geosciences OutreachScience communication and outreach practices with emphasis on geosciences.
EPSS154Solar Terrestrial PhysicsParticle and electromagnetic emissions from sun under quiet and under disturbed conditions. Solar wind. Magnetospheres and ionospheres of Earth and other planets. Geomagnetic phenomena and aurora.
EPSS155Planetary PhysicsFormation of solar nebula; origin of planets and their satellites; comets, asteroids, and meteorites; celestial mechanics and dynamics; physics of planetary interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres.
EPSS200AIntroduction to Geophysics and Space Physics I: Solid Earth and PlanetsGeochemistry, cosmochemistry, and petrology; geotectonics; gravity field; seismology; heat transfer, thermal and mechanical evolution of mantle; core and geomagnetism; lunar and planetary interiors.
EPSS200BIntroduction to Geophysics and Space Physics II: Oceans and AtmospheresEvolution, chemistry, and heat balance of oceans and atmospheres; molecular spectra, radiative transfer, and planetary observations; dynamics of oceans and atmospheres.
EPSS200CIntroduction to Geophysics and Space Physics III: Plasmas--Aeronomy and Interplanetary MediumSolar surface features, heating and expansion of corona, solar wind, plasma and magnetic fields, interaction of solar wind with Earth, magnetospheric phenomena.
EPSS200DPlanetary SurfacesIntroduction to basic physical processes (both exogenic and endogenic) shaping solid surfaces in solar system and description of their optical and thermophysical properties, with emphasis on simple physics-based approach.
EPSS200EPlanetary Origins and EvolutionDescription of star/planet formation process and subsequent evolution of planetary systems by integrating observations and theory.
EPSS219Planetary and Orbital DynamicsPlanetary rotations, satellite orbits, and tidal dissipation; planetary orbital system; resonance effects and chaos; spin-orbit and orbit-orbit coupling; planetary rings.
EPSS220Early Life on Earth and the Search for Life on Other WorldsLectures and discussion about the earliest history of life on Earth. What is the future evolution of life on Earth? What would be the implications of the discovery of life on other worlds?
EPSS225APhysics and Chemistry of Planetary Interiors IChemical compositions of Earth and planets; high-pressure and temperature effects, phase transitions, and equations of state; variations of density and temperature with depth; thermal and compositional evolution.
EPSS225BPhysics and Chemistry of Planetary Interiors IILateral inhomogeneities in Earth: seismic velocities, petrology, geothermal and gravitational variations; evidences of motion; remanent magnetism, seismic motions; postglacial rebound; plate tectonics; rheology of mantle; thermal convection.
EPSS228Introduction to Planetary DynamosBasic principles of planetary dynamo generation. Planetary core dynamics and core convection; mean field dynamo theory; kinematic dynamo theory; survey of modeling techniques and results.
EPSS229Planetary AtmospheresPlanetary atmospheric structure, dynamics, and composition. Topics include spacecraft observations; origin and evolution of atmospheres; photochemistry, radiation mechanisms, and transport; atmospheric waves and general circulation; wave-mean flow and turbulence; remote sensing and inversion techniques.
EPSS240Space Plasma PhysicsPhysics of plasmas in space, including treatments based on magnetohydrodynamics and kinetic theory. Applications to solar or planetary winds, steady-state magnetospheres, magnetospheric convection, substorm processes, magnetic merging, field-aligned currents and magnetosphere/ionosphere coupling, ring current dynamics, and wave particle instabilities.
EPSS250MarsMars geology, geophysics, geochemistry. Cratering history, surface/atmosphere interaction, volatiles, polar caps, atmosphere, climate.
EPSS261Topics in Magnetospheric Plasma PhysicsLectures, discussions, and exercises on specific advanced topics in magnetospheric plasma physics.
EPSS, ASTROM285Origin and Evolution of Solar SystemDynamical problems of solar system; chemical evidences from geochemistry, meteorites, and solar atmosphere; nucleosynthesis; solar origin, evolution, and termination; solar nebula, hydromagnetic processes, formation of planets and satellite systems.
EPSS286A,B,CSeminars: PlanetologyProblems of current interest concerning moon, planets, and meteorites.
EPSS293A,B,CSpace Physics Journal ClubReview of current space physics literature.
AOS5Climates of Other WorldsIntroduction to atmospheres of planets and their satellites in solar system using information obtained during recent planetary exploration program. Elementary description of origin and evolution of atmospheres on planets.
AOSC170, C205AIntroduction to Solar System PlasmasIntroduction to basic plasma physical processes occurring in sun, solar wind, magnetospheres, and ionospheres of planets, using simple fluid (magnetohydrodynamic) models as well as individual particle (radiation belt dynamics) approach. Solar-planetary coupling processes, geomagnetic phenomena, aurora.
AOS205BIntroduction to Solar-Terrestrial PhysicsSolar, interplanetary, magnetospheric, ionospheric, auroral, geomagnetic phenomenological and theoretical background for studies in space physics.
AOS205CPlanetary Upper AtmospheresAeronomy of upper atmospheres of Earth and other planets and some of their satellites--thermospheric structure and morphology, circulations, and disturbances; ionospheres as collisional and magnetized (unmagnetized) plasmas: currents, drifts, and instabilities.
AOS250ASolar System MagnetohydrodynamicsDerivation of MHD equations with two fluid aspects, generalized Ohm’s law, small amplitude waves, discontinuities, shock waves, and instabilities. Applications to statics and dynamics of solar wind and planetary magnetospheres and to solar wind/magnetosphere/ionosphere coupling.
AOS250BSolar System Microscopic Plasma ProcessesAdiabatic charged particle dynamics; incoherent radiation processes; collective effects in plasma; propagation characteristics of electrostatic and electromagnetic waves; introduction to resonant interaction between charged particles and plasma waves.
AOS257Radiation Belt Plasma PhysicsTurbulent plasma instabilities and their relation to satellite observations and magnetospheric structure. Processes responsible for source, loss, and transport of energetic radiation belt particles.
AOS258Sources and Losses of Magnetospheric PlasmaTransfer of plasma across magnetopause, sources for magnetotail, ionospheric plasma flow to magnetosphere, precipitation of magnetospheric particles, plasmasphere, and ring current.
AOS259Space WeatherIdentification, description, and theories for major disturbances in magnetosphere/ionosphere/thermosphere system. Storms, substorms, convection bays, and other disturbances.
ASTRO5Life in UniverseLife on Earth and prospects for life elsewhere in context of evolution of universe from simple to complex.
ASTRO278Cosmic Magnetic FieldsMethods for measuring magnetic fields, magnetic field line reconnection, stellar winds
ASTRO286Exoplanets: Properties, Origin, and EvolutionDetection and statistics of extrasolar planets. Theories of planet formation. Structural and dynamical evolution of planets. Signatures and consequences of evolution. Interior and atmospheric structure. Relationship between planets and smaller bodies.