This interdisciplinary MSc offers a wide programme of study related to the physics of planetary and space environments, including planetary interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres; the impact of the space environment on human physiology; and research project work which provides potential opportunity to work with established planetary researchers at UCL and Birkbeck, some of whom are involved in active or planned space missions.
Students develop insights into the techniques used in current projects, and gain in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area through project work as a member of a research team. The programme provides the professional skills necessary to play a meaningful role in industrial or academic life.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a choice of six optional modules (90 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma consisting of six optional modules (90 credits) and a research essay (30 credits); full-time nine months is offered.
Optional modules 1 (15 credits each)
Students choose three from:
Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose three from the following:
Alternatively students may also choose a fourth module from the Optional modules 1 list and two from the Optional modules 2 list above.
All students submit a critical research essay and MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a substantial dissertation and oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, practical classes, computer-based teaching, fieldwork, and tutorials. Student performance is assessed through coursework and written examination. The research project is assessed by literature survey, oral presentation and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Planetary Science MSc
Candidates may be eligible for a Santander scholarship.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Physics-based careers embrace a broad band of areas, e.g. information technology, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Graduates of MSc programmes at UCL go on to a variety of careers as research associates, postdoctoral fellows, consultants, and systems test engineers.
Recent career destinations for this degree
An MSc qualification from UCL is highly regarded by employers. Students engage in a variety of learning activities, including undertaking their own research projects, which encourages the development of problem-solving skills, technical and quantitative analysis, independent critical thinking and good scientific practice. In addition, teamwork, vision and enthusiasm make physics graduates highly desirable members in all dynamic companies.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the leading departments in the UK for this subject area. The curriculum of the Planetary Science MSc draws on a variety of other academic departments within UCL including Space & Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory), Earth Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology and Birkbeck's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. The programme thus has a strong interdisciplinary flavour, in line with the ethos of the Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck.
The combination of taught modules, tutorials and project work allows prospective students to study a wide variety of topics related to planetary and space environments, such as: planetary interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres; the impact of the space environment on human physiology and life; and the application of current knowledge to investigations of extrasolar planets, i.e. worlds in other stellar systems.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme offers a wide range of courses on the subfields of astronomy and on research methodology. Special attention will be devoted to the analysis and astrophysical interpretation of data, as well as totechnological aspects of international astronomical research.
Upon successful completion of this programme, students will have acquired:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme consists of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System - ECTS), divided over two years. In the first year, theoretical courses provide a solid foundation for further study, while students develop their research skills by undertaking a research project. The second year includes the Master’s thesis, i.e. an extensive written report of research conducted in one of the department’s astronomy research groups.
The Institute of Astronomy conducts research on stellar astrophysics. The research performed at the institute is situated in the domain of stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution in a very broad context. Specific research themes of the institute include asteroseismology, stellar evolution and exoplanets.
A particular area of expertise is asteroseismology, the field that studies the internal structure of stars (massive stars, red giants, blue subdwarfs) through the observation and theoretical interpretation of their oscillation spectra. Early and late evolutionary phases of single and binary low-mass stars are investigated, with a particular focus on the interaction of stars with their circumstellar environments. The institute is involved in the development and exploitation of both ground-based and space-based instrumentation
The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modelling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.
New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents...) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programmes.
This Master's programme is strongly connected to research in astronomy and astrophysics and aims to prepare the students for research in this area.
At the end of this study the student will have acquired:
A research-oriented Master's programme in astronomy and astrophysics is essential to ensuring high-quality astronomy research. Graduates will have a competitive advantage when applying for a PhD, either locally or abroad, and the skills they acquire will also prepare them for research careers in a broad range of professional environments.
The master's programme Astronomy covers observations using the world’s most powerful ground- and space-based telescopes, theoretical astrophysical and astrochemical modeling, large scale simulations, and laboratory experiments that mimic conditions in space.
In this two-year master’s programme in Astronomy you get access to cutting edge research in modern astronomy. Main focus areas include galaxies and the structures in which they are embedded, exoplanets, and star and planet formation. With seven challenging specialisations to choose from, you will be prepared for a wide variety of careers within academia, industry and the public sector.
Read more about the Astronomy master's programme.
Find out more reasons to choose Leiden University.
Are you are interested in astronomy research within or outside academia? Do you want to add value to society through scientific and technological progress? Are you keen on solving complex matters and are you up for a challenge? Then our Leiden University Astronomy master’s programme is designed for you.