Modes and duration
- Full-time: 3 years
- Part-time: 5 years
Programme start date
Tuition Fees (2016/17)
- £4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
- £22,180 (FT) £11,090 (PT)
An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with an MSc from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an overseas equivalent qualification.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
- Astrophysics: cosmology; galaxy formation and evolution; active galactic nuclei; gamma-ray; neutron stars and magnetars
- Theory: theoretical and computational astrophysics of systems from planets, the sun, stars and galaxies to the universe and their associated radiative and dynamical processes
- Imaging: automated 3D vision and applications; spectro-fluorescence and isotopologue imaging for life detection; data mining for planetary surface change detection; climate change from ECVs
- Planetary science: plasma interaction processes; giant planet magnetospheres; plasma at Mars, Venus, Titans, moons and comets; dust-plasma interactions; ionospheres; surfaces and atmospheres from rovers
- Solar physics: solar activity and its consequences within the solar system; emergence and evolution of solar magnetic fields; solar eruptions; solar wind formation
- Space plasma physics: local space environment, including physics of the heliosphere and terrestrial magnetosphere; magnetic reconnection, radiation belt and auroral particle acceleration; space weather
- Photon and particle detector development: particle detectors; charge-coupled devices; sub Kelvin cryo-coolers for space and ground based applications
- Weather and climate extremes: drivers, modelling and predictions for tropical and extra-topical storms; precipitation and temperature extremes worldwide; solar activity and cold winters.
- System engineering: system modelling and optimisation, risk modelling and management, technology planning, project management, defining system engineering.
NERC and STFC studentships may be available.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
- Fees, maintenance and travel (Duration of programme)
- Overseas students
- Based on academic merit
More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website
Recent graduates have taken up academic posts at NASA, the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Goddard Space Flight Center, European Space Agency and in academia, but others have entered professional occupations, within areas as diverse as IT and finance.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Specialist Forecaster, Met Office (2011)
- Research Scientist, NASA (2011)
- Post Doctoral Researcher, KU Leuven (2011)
- Consultant Physicist/Engineer, EADS Astrium (2012)
All of our PhD programmes require students to develop strong IT skills, manipulate large volumes of data and clearly present their work to a range of specialist audiences. As a result our graduates are highly numerate, technically competent, and articulate, with excellent problem solving skills. This makes them attractive to a wide range of employers, as can be seen from their career destinations. Through international collaborations, interactions with industry and opportunities to work with schools and the general public, they also develop unique insight into the requirements of future employers. This gives them an invaluable competitive edge when beginning their chosen career.
PhD students are actively encouraged to collaborate widely with national and international colleagues through existing departmental links, as well as new ones. Many become involved with space projects, giving them vitally important opportunities to interact with key players and future employers in both academia and the space industry. There are opportunities for public engagement and policy involvement at all levels, including working with schools, the public, applying for funding, sitting on national subject specific committees and meeting with politicians, all of which provide excellent networking possibilities.
Why study this degree at UCL?
Research training takes place at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, except the System Engineering course where the students may work at the Bloomsbury Campus depending on their project.
MSSL offers a unique environment at the forefront of space science. Scientists work alongside top engineers, designing, building and testing instruments for launch in space and analysing the data from both these instruments and others. Most research projects use data from either ground-based or space-borne instrumentation and students benefit significantly from the laboratory's involvement in numerous space missions. In addition to studying their chosen research topic, students are encouraged to increase their employability by learning other invaluable skills associated with the interdisciplinary nature this laboratory such as space technology, project management and where the data came from
Student / staff ratios › 66 staff including 42 postdocs › 52 taught students › 49 research students
Department: Space & Climate Physics
"UCL is among the leading universities in the world and carries out world-class research. In particular, in the department of space and climate physics, there are many experts in galactic astronomy, which was/is my main interest. I believe this has put me in good stead to begin a career in the field."
Robert GrandSpace and Climate Physics PhD
"I applied to Mullard Space Science Laboratory, part of UCL, because of its excellent reputation, and because it was performing cutting edge research in the field which I was interested in. After meeting my prospective supervisor, and seeing the picturesque location in the Surrey Hills I was sold"
Jason HuntSpace and Climate Physics PhD
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now