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Planetary Science MSc

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, some of whom are involved in active or planned space missions.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,020 (FT) £4,510 (PT)
£23,020 (FT) £11,460 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016
Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline, preferably with substantial physics content, from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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.

International students

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:

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

Core Modules

  • Deep Earth and Planetary Modelling
  • Earth and Planetary Materials
  • Planetary Atmospheres
  • Solar Physics
  • Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics
  • Please note: students choose three of the above.


  • Any remaining core module
  • Earth and Planetary System Science
  • Melting and Volcanism
  • Astronomical Spectroscopy
  • Physics of the Earth
  • Space Medicine and Extreme Environment Physiology


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 available on the department web site Planetary Science MSc


Candidates may be eligible for a Santander scholarship. For further details please visit:


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.

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Summer Scholarship in Condensed Matter Physics

Variable (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on 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. A graduate of science MSc programmes at UCL go on to engage in a variety of careers, for example: Research Associate (UCL), Carl Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow (Harvard), Consultant (Deltica), Systems Test Engineer (Elekta), and Scientist (UK Met Office).


A MAster's degree in Science 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, team work, vision and enthusiasm make physics graduates highly desirable members of all dynamic companies.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Physics and Astronomy is among the leading departments in the UK for graduate study.

The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team.Examples include work with the teams who manage scientific instruments aboard the Cassini spacecraft, and teams who are involved in planning the next generation of deep space planetary missions. These activities may also provide opportunities for networking with scientists involved in these missions.

For students whose interests tend towards the theoretical, activities may involve access to national supercomputer facilities, such as the Legion. In some cases, opportunities may exist for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.

Student / staff ratios › 230 staff › 30 taught students › 200 research students

Department: Physics & Astronomy

Degree reviews

Student review

"At UCL I took part in four different international summer schools/field schools, and enjoyed UCL hosting the 2013 European Planetary Science Congress, which brought all the top international researchers to London. I also visited UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the largest university space research group in the UK. Since graduating I am now a PhD research student at the Space Research Centre, University of Leicester, studying martian meteorites."

Jane MacArthur

Planetary Science

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.

Who can apply?

This MSc is particularly suitable for students with an undergraduate degree in physics, astronomy, astrophysics or a related discipline, who wish to develop a career in planetary science, space science and related fields. The programme provides an ideal foundation for further research and entry onto the PhD programme.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Planetary Science at graduate level
  • why you want to study Planetary Science at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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