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Masters Degrees in Planetary Science

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This interdisciplinary MSc offers a wide programme of study related to the physics of planetary and space environments, including planetary interiors, atmospheres… Read more
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.

Degree information

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 three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits). A Postgraduate Diploma consisting of three core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research essay (30 credits); full-time nine months is offered.

Optional modules 1 (15 credits each) - students choose three from:
-Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling
-Earth and Planetary Materials
-Planetary Atmospheres
-Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics
-Remote Sensing and Planetary Surfaces
-Physics of Exoplanets

Optional modules 2 (15 credits each) - students choose three from the following:
-Earth and Planetary System Science
-Melting and Volcanism
-Solar Physics
-Astronomical Spectroscopy
-Physics of the Earth
-Space Medicine and Extreme Environment Physiology
-Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites
-Advanced Topics in Planetary Science

Alternatively students may also choose a fourth module from the Optional modules 1 list and two from the Optional modules 2 list above.

Dissertation/report
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.

Careers

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.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Chartered Surveyor, Dunphys
-PhD in Planetary Science, The Open University (OU)

Employability
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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the leading departments in the UK for graduate study. 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 courses, 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.

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Planetary Science is an exciting area of study, as new data returning from current planetary probes and rovers expands and deepens our understanding of the geology of other planets. Read more
Planetary Science is an exciting area of study, as new data returning from current planetary probes and rovers expands and deepens our understanding of the geology of other planets. If you have an undergraduate degree in earth sciences or geology, but want to increase your knowledge of planetary sciences, then this course will bring you up to date with developments in the field. The specialist knowledge you acquire could help you change career, or build a career within the planetary sciences and education, or enable you to progress onto doctoral research at PhD level.

You will be taught by academics who are actively engaged in cutting-edge planetary research that is expanding the boundaries of knowledge. We cover planetary surfaces and remote sensing, volcanic activity on Earth and other planets, the nature of comets, asteroids and meteorites, and the internal structure and origin of planets, as well as offering advanced modules in astronomy, scientific computing, and the design of, and participation in, an analogue field mission. You can choose from a range of modules and put together a programme that matches, expands and deepens your particular interests.

The course can be taken via distance-learning or face-to-face evening study.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This programme will teach you about cutting-edge developments in this exciting, constantly expanding field.
This programme is ideal if you have studied earth sciences or geology at undergraduate level and want to deepen your understanding of planetary sciences.
Our Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has been offering evening study courses for over 70 years and is ranked 6th in the UK.
You will learn in an environment of active research and be taught by lecturers who are working at the forefront of their specialisms.
Studying with us will give you access to world-class research facilities.
We retain close links with UCL's Department of Earth Sciences, sharing expertise, facilities and events across the 2 institutions, including live streaming of lectures and digital lecture notes.
We are part of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS).

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In our joint submission with UCL, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences at Birkbeck were rated 6th the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), while we achieved 100% for an environment conducive to research of the highest quality.

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Research degrees may be undertaken in the three main areas of research interest in the Laboratory. The growing number of academic staff are supported in their research by the technical staff and post-doctoral research fellows. Read more
Research degrees may be undertaken in the three main areas of research interest in the Laboratory. The growing number of academic staff are supported in their research by the technical staff and post-doctoral research fellows.

We make every attempt to allocate you to a supervisor directly in your field of interest, consistent with available funding and staff loading. When you apply, please give specific indications of your research interest – including, where appropriate, the member(s) of staff you wish to work with – and whether you are applying for a studentship or propose to be self-funded.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/212/physics

About The School of Physical Sciences

The School offers postgraduate students the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking science in the realms of physics, chemistry, forensics and astronomy. With strong international reputations, our staff provide plausible ideas, well-designed projects, research training and enthusiasm within a stimulating environment. Recent investment in modern laboratory equipment and computational facilities accelerates the research.

The School maintains a focus on progress to ensure each student is able to compete with their peers in their chosen field. We carefully nurture the skills, abilities and motivation of our students which are vital elements in our research activity. We offer higher degree programmes in chemistry and physics (including specialisations in forensics, astronomy and space science) by research. We also offer taught programmes in Forensic Science, studied over one year full-time, and a two-year European-style Master’s in Physics.

Our principal research covers a wide variety of topics within physics, astronomy and chemistry, ranging from specifically theoretical work on surfaces and interfaces, through mainstream experimental condensed matter physics, astrobiology, space science and astrophysics, to applied areas such as biomedical imaging, forensic imaging and space vehicle protection. We scored highly in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with 25% of our research ranked as “world-leading” and our Functional Materials Research Group ranked 2nd nationally in the Metallurgy and Materials discipline.

Study support

- Postgraduate resources

The University has good facilities for modern research in physical sciences. Among the major instrumentation and techniques available on the campus are NMR spectrometers (including solutions at 600 MHz), several infrared and uvvisible spectrometers, a Raman spectrometer, two powder X-ray diffractometers, X-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption in flame and graphite furnace mode, gel-permeation chromatography, gaschromatography, analytical and preparative highperformance liquid chromatography (including GC-MS and HPLC-MS), mass spectrometry (electrospray and MALDI), scanning electron microscopy and EDX, various microscopes (including hot-stage), differential scanning calorimetry and thermal gravimetric analysis, dionex analysis of anions and automated CHN analysis. For planetary science impact studies, there is a two-stage light gas gun.

- Interdisciplinary approach

Much of the School’s work is interdisciplinary and we have successful collaborative projects with members of the Schools of Biosciences, Computing and Engineering and Digital Arts at Kent, as well as an extensive network of international collaborations.

- National and international links

The School is a leading partner in the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), a consortium of seven universities in the south-east, acting together to promote physics in the region through national and international channels. The School benefits through the £12.5 million of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), creating new facilities and resources to enable us to expand our research portfolio.

The School’s research is well supported by contracts and grants and we have numerous collaborations with groups in universities around the world. We have particularly strong links with universities in Germany, France, Italy and the USA. UK links include King’s College, London and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Our industrial partners include British Aerospace, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Ophthalmic Technology Inc, Canada. The universe is explored through collaborations with NASA, ESO and ESA scientists.

- Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Nature; Science; Astrophysical Journal; Journal of Polymer Science; Journal of Materials Chemistry; and Applied Optics.

- Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme (http://www.kent.ac.uk/graduateschool/skills/programmes/tstindex.html) for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subjectspecific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Careers

All programmes in the School of Physical Sciences equip you with the tools you need to conduct research, solve problems, communicate effectively and transfer skills to the workplace, which means our graduates are always in high demand. Our links with industry not only provide you with the opportunity to gain work experience during your degree, but also equip you with the general and specialist skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace.

Typical employment destinations for graduates from the physics programmes include power companies, aerospace, defence, optoelectronics and medical industries. Typical employment destinations for graduates from our forensic science and chemistry programmes include government agencies, consultancies, emergency services, laboratories, research or academia.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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Our department offers programs in both physics and astronomy leading to MSc and PhD degrees. We have a vibrant core faculty of 30 researchers covering the areas of astronomy, condensed matter physics, medical physics, atmospheric physics and planetary science. Read more
Our department offers programs in both physics and astronomy leading to MSc and PhD degrees. We have a vibrant core faculty of 30 researchers covering the areas of astronomy, condensed matter physics, medical physics, atmospheric physics and planetary science.

Visit the website: http://grad.uwo.ca/prospective_students/programs/program_NEW.cfm?p=122

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please see: http://grad.uwo.ca/prospective_students/applying/index.html

Fields of Research

• Astrophysics
• Condensed Matter
• Medical Physics
• Planetary Physics

Financing your studies

As one of Canada's leading research institutions, we place great importance on helping you finance your education. It is crucial that you devote your full energy to the successful completion of your studies, so we want to ensure that stable funding is available to you.
For information please see: http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/student_finances/index.html

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Shock physics focuses on the understanding of what happens to matter under extreme conditions. This research can be applied in many ways, including. Read more
Shock physics focuses on the understanding of what happens to matter under extreme conditions.

This research can be applied in many ways, including:

Analysing the effect of meteorite impacts on planets, spacecraft and satellites
Understanding how tsunamis are formed
Understanding the high pressure conditions that occur at the core of planets

This course explores the response of a wide range of materials, from rock to plasma, when subjected to rapid or high pressure loading.

This area is important for a number of applications, including:

Preventing impact damage to transportation vehicles
Petrochemical and other offshore platforms
Astrophysics and studies into the internal conditions of nuclear energy reactors

You will be trained in techniques that are of value to potential industrial employers, government agencies and other organisations.

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What are the laws of nature governing the universe from elementary particles to the formation and evolution of the solar system, stars, and galaxies? In the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, you will focus on gaining a quantitative understanding of these phenomena. Read more
What are the laws of nature governing the universe from elementary particles to the formation and evolution of the solar system, stars, and galaxies? In the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, you will focus on gaining a quantitative understanding of these phenomena.

With the expertise in basic research that you will gain in the programme, you can pursue a career in research. You will also acquire proficiency in the use of mathematical methods, IT tools and/or experimental equipment, as well as strong problem-solving and logical deduction skills. These will qualify you for a wide range of positions in the private sector.

After completing the programme, you will:
-Have wide-ranging knowledge of particle physics and/or astrophysical phenomena.
-Have good analytical, deductive and computational skills.
-Be able to apply theoretical, computational and/or experimental methods to the analysis and understanding of various phenomena.
-Be able to generalize your knowledge of particle physics and astrophysical phenomena as well as identify their interconnections.
-Be able to formulate hypotheses and test them based your knowledge.

The teaching in particle physics and astrophysical sciences is largely based on the basic research. Basic research conducted at the University of Helsinki has received top ratings in international university rankings. The in-depth learning offered by international research groups will form a solid foundation for your lifelong learning.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees: https://studyinfo.fi/wp2/en/higher-education/higher-education-institutions-will-introduce-tuition-fees-in-autumn-2017/am-i-required-to-pay-tuition-fees/

Programme Contents

The understanding of the microscopic structure of matter, astronomical phenomena and the dynamics of the universe is at the forefront of basic research today. The advancement of such research in the future will require increasingly sophisticated theoretical, computational and experimental methods.

The study track in elementary particle physics and cosmology focuses on experimental or theoretical particle physics or cosmology. The theories that form our current understanding of these issues must be continuously re-evaluated in the light of new experimental results. In addition to analytical computation skills, this requires thorough mastery of numerical analysis methods. In experimental particle physics, the main challenges pertain to the management and processing of continuously increasing amount of data.

The study track in astrophysical sciences focuses on observational or theoretical astronomy or space physics. Our understanding of space, ranging from near Earth space all the way to structure of the universe, is being continuously redefined because of improved experimental equipment located both in space and on the Earth’s surface. Several probes are also carrying out direct measurements of planets, moons and interplanetary plasma in our solar system. Another key discipline is theoretical astrophysics which, with the help of increasingly efficient supercomputers, enables us to create in-depth models of various phenomena in the universe in general and the field of space physics in particular. Finally, plasma physics is an important tool in both space physics and astronomy research.

Selection of the Major

The Master’s programme includes two study tracks:
-Particle physics and cosmology
-Astrophysical sciences

Courses in the programme have been compiled into modules. Both study tracks contain a mandatory core module that includes a research seminar. The study tracks are divided into specialisations that focus on astronomy, space physics, particle physics or cosmology. Courses typically include lectures, exercises, group work and research literature and end in examinations and/or final assignments. In addition, some studies can be completed as book examinations.

Programme Structure

The scope of the Master’s programme is 120 credits (ECTS), which can be completed in two years. The degree consists of:
-90 credits of Master’s studies, including a Master’s thesis (30 credits).
-30 credits of other studies from the Master’s programme or other degree programmes.

In addition, your studies include a personal study plan as well as career orientation and planning. You might also take part in a traineeship, elective studies offered by the Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences, or studies offered by other degree programmes.

Career Prospects

A Master’s degree in elementary particle physics or astrophysical sciences provides you with excellent qualifications for postgraduate education in research or for a career in diverse positions both in Finland and abroad. As a Master’s graduate you could begin a career in research and development in industry as well as in universities and other research institutes that enable you to conduct independent research on a topic that interests you.

Potential employers and career opportunities include:
-Research institutes in Finland and abroad (basic scientific research).
-Universities and universities of applied sciences (teaching).
-Industry, particularly high technology companies (applied research and development, managerial duties).
-Software production, e.g., the game sector.
-Diverse planning and consulting positions.

Master’s graduates from equivalent study tracks under the previous degree system have embarked on careers in:
-Research and teaching positions in Finnish universities and research institutes.
-Research and teaching positions abroad, for example at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), ESA (the European Space Agency), ESO (the European Southern Observatory), and NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
-Administrative positions, for example at the Academy of Finland or the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes).
-The business sector.

The strong theoretical and analytical skills you will acquire in the programme are in great demand in fields such as:
-Data analysis (industry, media companies, game companies, financing).
-Industrial research, development and consulting (at, e.g., Nokia, Ericsson, Apple, Sanoma, Spinverse, Supercell, Nielsen, Valo -Research and Trading, Planmeca, Reaktor, Comptel, and Goldman Sachs).

Internationalization

Our multilingual Master’s programme is highly international. The Department hosts a large number of international students and staff members. In addition, the University of Helsinki and the Faculty of Science provide many opportunities for international engagement:
-Student exchange at one of the destinations available through the Faculty or the University.
-International traineeships.
-English-language teaching offered by the Faculty.
-Master’s thesis project as a member of one of the international research groups operating under the programme.
-Cooperation with international students enrolled in the programme.
-International duties in subject-specific student organisations or the Student Union of the University of Helsinki.
-Language courses organised by the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki.

The Faculty of Science is a top research institute in its fields among European universities. Its partners include many leading international research institutes, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

As a student at the Faculty of Science, you will have the opportunity to complete a research traineeship period at, for example, CERN in Geneva. By completing a traineeship at one of the internationally active research groups on campus you will be able to acquaint yourself and network with the international scientific community during your Master’s studies. The international student exchange programmes available at the University provide numerous opportunities to complete part of your degree at a university abroad.

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