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Astrobiology - Ph.D.

The search for life in the universe. Exploring ancient Earth rocks that serve as examples of what could have happened to planets in different galaxies. And even analyzing and improving the tools we use to measure for evidence — either at the scale of a cell or a solar system — to answer these questions. These are the hallmarks of astrobiology research at Penn State. Our program brings together researchers from many disciplines to answer these pressing questions about the evolution of life.

The Astrobiology dual-title degree program, administered by the Department of Geosciences, enables students from several graduate programs to gain the perspectives, techniques, and methodologies of astrobiology, while maintaining a close association with major program areas of application.

At the core of Astrobiology and at the forefront of NASA goals is the construction of a fundamental scientific knowledge base that enables the recognition of signatures of life on the early Earth, in extreme environments, and in extraterrestrial settings. Graduates may work in fields devoted to the exploration of life outside of Earth and to the investigation of the origin and early evolution of life on Earth.