Programme overview

Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences are two of the most important research areas in modern cosmology.

Why study Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences?

Astrobiology and the planetary sciences are inter-disciplinary subjects that build on physics, chemistry, biology and geosciences to answer fundamental questions about living matter, how it forms, varies and evolves in concert with planets and stars, and how it is distributed across time and space. Planetary scientists investigate the origin, diversity and behaviour of planets, moons, rings, asteroids, comets, and solar systems. Together, these sciences offer a distinctive and mind-expanding perspective on our own place in the universe.

This is the UK’s first Masters in astrobiology, the rapidly advancing interdisciplinary science of life in the universe. Our programme builds on Edinburgh’s substantial and leading role in astrobiology and planetary sciences, such as cometary studies, and exoplanet science.

Students on the MSc in Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences will be integrated in the astrobiology group (which also includes 8-12 PhD students, postdocs and fellows) and invited to participate in the existing group journal club-seminar series and discussion groups).

In addition, students will have the opportunity to make contacts with scientists and engineers in the astrobiology, space sciences and planetary sciences community, and to work with leading astrobiology researchers to develop a dissertation on a novel area of research. Students will also have the opportunity to interface with many other aspects of Edinburgh’s unique space capability including the Bayes Center, data-driven innovation work, space ports and mission development.

Career opportunities

The MSc in Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences aims to develop students into confident professionals, by equipping them with key scientific, quantitative, research, critical thinking and presentation skills, and by helping them to identify and successfully target suitable professional opportunities.

The programme provides a grounding for many potential career paths. This may include scientific research in areas of planetary sciences, astronomy, geology, biology and allied fields; careers in engineering, for example providing a scientific underpinning to spacecraft design and engineering; associated careers in science education, pedagogy, outreach, reporting, media, and the civil service.

In addition, students wishing to pursue academic careers will find this programme enlightening and useful in its focus on concepts and methods cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries. This approach will equip students with excellent research skills, well placed to be competitive PhD applicants