Not too easy. Not too difficult.
I would recommend this course to anyone who enjoys the topics of discussion (life in the universe), but I would not recommend this class to someone who wants stellar grades. The class was extremely interesting and I enjoyed it far more that the rest of my classes this quarter, but it is near impossible to get over a 3.5 without an immense amount of hard work, and the ability to retain information easily. So if you really like astronomy, space exploration, planetary science and biology, and you are willing to put in the hard work (and you are really good at studying without any sort of study guides) then this class is definitely for you. And if you are interested in these topics, but you are not an incredible test taker and study machine, just be prepared for your grade in this class to be the lowest on your transcript. I recall the professor telling us at the beginning of the quarter that only 8 percent of us would make a 3.5 or higher. Granted, grades aren't everything, and the purpose of the class isn't simply to do well on tests. But the grade is still important to some people, and if you are one of these people, don't go into this class thinking its an easy grade. It is far from it.
Despite the fact that I did not get the grade I wanted, I thoroughly enjoyed this class. The lectures were a bit boring at times but the topics we discussed were extremely interesting. We covered everything from the planets in our solar system, to planets beyond our sun, to the study of our own planet and the history of life on Earth. We discussed geology, atmospheric science, chemistry, physics and biology in hopes to better understand not only life on Earth, but the potential for life on other planets as well. The possibilities we learned about never ceased to blow my mind.
Hours per week:
Advice for students:
Advice I would give anyone who wants to take astrobiology is just to pay attention. Take notes, take part in discussions and don't skip class, especially the quiz sections. You might get away with skipping lectures since they are all posted online as well, but do not skip the quiz section. Also, don't be a slacker. Make sure to do your best on every assignment and don't get any zeros! Your interest in the class will quickly diminish if all you are seeing is a bad grade. As long as you turn in every assignment, go to every quiz section, and actually study for the exams, you should come out with a decent grade, and a lot of cool information in your pocket. The exposure to new info and new ideas in this class is incredible, but you won't enjoy it if you're worried about our grades the entire time. And at some point, stop worrying about the grades and just enjoy it. The whole point in taking the class is that it interested you in the beginning, and you wanted to learn about this new field of science. So learn and enjoy, but don't slack off.