Planetary Science MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This interdisciplinary MSc offers a wide programme of study related to the physics of planetary and space environments, including planetary interiors, surface, atmospheres and magnetospheres for planets within our solar system and extrasolar planets. The MSc includes a substantial research component, which provides opportunity to work on original research with leading planetary science, astrophysics or space science researchers at UCL and Birkbeck College.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£12,900
£6,450
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£32,100
£16,050
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

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

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students develop insights into the techniques used in current planetary science, 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. The MSc is delivered in association with the Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck , and, therefore, in close collaboration with Birkbeck College, University of London. Students can study selected courses at Birkbeck’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences as well as base their research project at Birkbeck College.

Who this course is for

This MSc is particularly suitable for students with an undergraduate degree in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, geophysics 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.

What this course will give you

UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area: UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings - and is currently 4th in the UK in the QS World Rankings by Subject 2021 for Physics & Astronomy.

The curriculum of the Planetary Science MSc draws on a variety of other academic departments within UCL including Space & Climate Physics, Earth Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology and Birkbeck's Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences. It 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 foundation of your career

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 planetary science graduates highly desirable members in all dynamic companies.

Employability

Planetary Science 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.

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.

Modules

Full-time

The MSc in Planetary Science is a one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) programme requiring the attainment 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).

Module selections will be subject to the approval of the Programme Director and/or MSc Tutor to ensure an appropriate workload/balance of studies throughout the programme. This is particularly applicable to part-time students.

MSc students start work on their Individual Project during the first term. Discussions with the MSc Tutor and potential supervisors start in October, and a project title must be defined, and a supervisor appointed, by the end of October. Project-related work begins in the first term, usually consisting of a literature survey and related background work. Progress, plans and difficulties are outlined in an initial report, due in the middle of the second term. Assessment of the project is based mainly on the final report, but other components also contribute.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Planetary Science.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Physics and Astronomy

Our open days are a great chance to find out more about your chosen course, the department and studying at UCL. You'll have the opportunity to find out more about the field of study you’re interested in, followed by a Q&A where you'll have the opportunity to hear from academic staff and ask any questions you might have about life at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £32,100 £16,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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.

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

Any late applications will only be considered after all those received by the closing date.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021