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Minor in Dark Sky Studies

Dark Sky Studies is an emerging transdisciplinary field that explores the impacts of artificial light at night and the loss of our night skies through a broad range of disciplines. Light pollution—excessive use of artificial light at night—poses environmental and safety threats and prevents us from seeing the starry sky at night. Utah is unique in protecting natural dark-sky places and intense urban light pollution generating urban core. Combined, Utah's rural starry skies and urban over-lighting are an ideal living laboratory for place-based exploration.

The Dark Sky Studies (DSS) Minor Program includes courses and faculty from multiple disciplines at the University of Utah: anthropology, architecture, astronomy, atmospheric sciences, design, engineering, English, history, philosophy, physics, public health, pulmonary medicine, religion, urban planning and more. The Minor program is housed in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning (College of Architecture + Planning) but is designed to include undergraduate students from across campus.

DSS students will explore issues through scientific, humanist and public policy lenses, particularly the negative impacts of artificial light, as well as endeavor to characterize community needs and innovation opportunities inherent in the effort of protecting natural night.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete 18 credit hours of coursework to complete the minor (9 credit hours of required courses and 9 credit hours of elective courses).

Core Courses

Complete the following:

CMP3850 - Dark Sky Studies: Lightscapes (3)

CMP3851 - Dark Sky Studies: Nightscapes (3)

CMP4282 - Dark Sky Studies: Capstone (3)


Minimum of 9 credits of electives from the approved list.


CMP Main Office
(801) 581-8255
DSS Minor Program Coordinator
Daniel Mendoza
To declare the minor: CA+P Student Success Center
Emi Ata'ata