The MSc programme in Planetary Science has a curriculum which is drawn from a variety of academic departments within UCL, including Physics and Astronomy, Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory), Earth Sciences, Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology, and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck College. This programme is offered as a 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time course.
The MSc programme in Astrophysics aims to provide students with a sound knowledge of the underlying principles which form a thorough basis for careers in these and related fields, enable students to develop insights into the techniques used in current projects and allow an in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area. This programme is offered as a 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time course. Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) is offered as a 9 months full-time or 2 years part-time course.
The Scientific Computing program aims to produce highly computationally skilled scientists and engineers capable of applying numerical methods and critical evaluation of their results to their field in science or engineering. It brings together best practice in computing with cutting edge science and fills in the computing gap in traditional science, engineering and mathematics programs. This programme is offered as a 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time course and is worth 180 credits.
BSc and MSci Courses:
Earth Sciences MSci & BSc degrees are intended as an entry route for high-level professional employment or postgraduate education.
Astrophysics makes demands across a broad frontier of technologies: materials science, optics and electronics. This three-year programme teaches students to apply their knowledge of physics to astronomical observation and to the interpretation of the data and images obtained.
This four-year programme offers an additional year of study on top of the Astrophysics BSc, during which students have the opportunity to specialise further by taking advanced optional modules, and undertaking a research project.
DIS encompasses a wide range of areas in the field of ‘big-data’ including the collection, storage and analysis of large datasets, as well as the use of complex models, algorithms and machine learning techniques to interpret the data. The Centre will primarily carry out research in STFC’s flagship Data Intensive Science projects, in High Energy Physics and Astronomy, which have been at the forefront of DIS research for several decades and provide the ideal training ground for DIS.
Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered in the recent years, most of them are gas giants and hundreds appear to be rocky (silicate-rich). Many of these exoplanets have very short orbital period, hence hot atmospheres. Some of the rocky super-Earths are evaporating with complex atmospheric compositions. These planets have a lot in common with the young Earth; the massive amounts of water in their atmospheres can melt rocks and put their constituents into the atmosphere. Similar processes are expected in the atmospheres of the post-impact planets.
The number of extrasolar planets detected is increasing rapidly and attention is turning to determining what they are made of. To do this requires very significant quantities of spectroscopic data which is largely unavailable. A major new project is being launched at UCL to calculate a comprehensive set of molecular line lists that will allow scientists to model the atmospheres of hot exoplanets, brown dwarf and cools stars (see www.exomol.com). One (or possibly two) PhD students are sought to work in a team of about 6 people on this project. Interested students should have a good understanding of quantum mechanics and be interested in computational work. The studentships are available to both UK and EU nationals.
Super-Earths, i.e. planets lighter than ten Earth masses, appear to be the most common planets in our galaxy. Being absent in our Solar Systems, their nature is rather mysterious: from their densities we gather there is a large variety of cases, ranging from big rocky planets to small Neptunes or more exotic types. The chemical composition and state of their atmospheres, can be used as a powerful diagnostic of the history, formation mechanisms and evolution of these planets. In the past fifteen years, the UCL exoplanet team led by Prof. Tinetti has worked at the forefront of the spectral/photometric measurements of exoplanet atmospheres and their interpretation, with molecular species being detected in the atmospheres of giant planets and super-Earths (e.g. extremely hot 55 Cnc-e and habitable-zone K2-18b). As part of the PhD, the student will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Prof. Giovanna Tinetti, Dr. Angelos Tsiaras and Dr. Yuichi Ito on a number of aspects connected with the observations and modelling of super-Earths’ atmospheres with current and future observatories (HST, JWST) and dedicated space missions (ARIEL).