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Undergraduate Studies UGS 303

WEL 1.316

Spring 2016

Extraterrestrial Life


Dr. Neal Evans, RLM 15.312A, 471-4396
Office Hours: TBA

TAs: Name Sections Office Hours Office Phone
Mo (Emma) Yu 61775, 80, 85 Th 11-12 RLM 15.310E 471-3387
Matt Stevans 61790, 95, 800 Tu 11-12 RLM 16.216 471-0445
Rebecca Tippens 61805, 10, 15 M 1-2 RLM 17.308 471-3415


Extraterrestrial Life, 6th Edition, by Evans; Contact by Carl Sagan; Pocket Style Manual by Hacker


There will be 4 exams, one paper, and one oral presentation. There will be no final. Grades will be based on highest 2 of the first 3 exam scores plus the last exam score (45%), a five-page paper (30%), oral presentation (5%), quizzes in discussion sections (5%), participation in discussion sections (5%), a short report on a University “Gem” (5%), and attendance at a suitable public lecture and a short report (5%). The oral presentation will be in the lecture room as a group project, one for each section. Exams consist entirely of essay questions. Blue books must be used for all exams. The lowest of the first three exam scores will be dropped. The last exam cannot be dropped. There will be absolutely no make-up exams, no matter how good your reason is for missing the exam. Dropping the lowest score will cover the situation where an exam is missed for a legitimate reason. Each exam will be worth 90 points, giving a total of 270 points for a perfect score on the exams. There will be one five-page paper worth 180 points and an oral presentation worth 30 points. Weekly quizzes and participation in discussion sections are each worth another 30 points. Attendance at a lecture accompanied by a report on the lecture will add 30 points, and a short report on a University Gem adds 30 points, for a total of 600 possible points.

The scores needed to obtain a given grade are listed here:

A 563-600 A- 525-562    
B+ 491-524 B 459-490 B- 425-458
C+ 393-424 C 359-392 C- 325-358
D+ 293-324 D 259-292 D- 225-258

There will also be occasional pop quizzes for extra credit, and we will give extra credit to those who actively participate in class discussion during lectures.
Cheating on exams will be dealt with very harshly; don't do it!


The course covers a wide range of topics, drawing on astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, and history. The table of contents of the text gives a good idea of the subjects covered in the class.


Plagiarism will not be tolerated. An extensive document describing plagiarism will be made available. If you need special arrangements for religious holidays, or because of disabilities, notify the professor well in advance. Use of cell phones during class is not allowed. Use of computers to follow and annotate the pdf files of the lecture presentations is the only acceptable use of computers or similar devices during class time. The paper will lose the number of points equivalent to one full grade for each day that it is late.

13 January 2016
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
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