Masters degrees in Planetary Science study the physical components of the Solar System, and as well as the measurement of the Earth and its gravitational field.
Related postgraduate specialisms include Space Science and Technology, and Astronomy and Astrophysics. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject such as Physics.
Planetary Science is a broad field which studies not only planets, but the systems that they’re a part of, as well as the objects with which they interact. More specifically, courses in this field explore the particles, processes, and forces which form these objects, as well as their historical development.
From micrometeoroids, to moons, starts, and gas giants, you’ll take an interdisciplinary approach to your studies. A combination of theory and methodology is drawn from fields such as Geochemistry and Geophysics, Atmospheric Science, Oceanography, Hydrology and Glaciology.
Careers in this field are highly varied, but many planetary physicists work within national research centres to take part in activities such as space exploration and experimental laboratory research, as well as the development of technologies such as satellites and robotics.
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.
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:
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.
Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.
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.