Earth and Planetary Science MSci
  • Undergraduate
  • MSci

Earth and Planetary Science

Become familiar with the geological and geophysical principles that support solid planetary body exploration

  • Undergraduate
  • MSci

Earth and Planetary Science with a Year Abroad

Gain the geological and geophysical skills that underpin modern investigation of solid planetary bodies in the Solar System.

Become familiar with the geological and geophysical principles that support solid planetary body exploration

Draw on different fields – from physics and chemistry, to mathematics and engineering

Discover the science behind new planetary missions and review freshly acquired data

How would you like to study?

Study option:

Course key facts

  • Qualification

    • MSci

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Start date

    October 2024

  • UCAS course code

    F647

  • Study mode

    Full-time

  • Fees

    • £9,250 Home

    • £40,940 Overseas

  • Delivered by

  • Location

    • South Kensington

  • Applications: places

    4 : 1 (2022)

Minimum entry standard

  • AAA (A-level)

  • 38 points (International Baccalaureate)

View full entry requirements
  • Qualification

    • MSci

  • Duration

    4 years

  • Start date

    October 2024

  • UCAS course code

    F520

  • Study mode

    Full-time

  • Fees

    • £9,250 Home

    • £40,940 Overseas

  • Delivered by

  • Location

    • South Kensington

  • Applications: places

    4 : 1 (2022)

Minimum entry standard

  • AAA (A-level)

  • 38 points (International Baccalaureate)

View full entry requirements

Study option:

Course overview

Find out how solid planetary bodies are explored using geological and geophysical principles.

This degree focuses on planets, moons, asteroids, and comets, along with geological and geophysical processes in the Solar System. You will also learn about geosciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computing as part of an interdisciplinary degree.

During the first two years, you'll take core subjects alongside students from other Earth Science degrees.

In your third year, you can choose from optional geology or physics modules, such as astrobiology, earth systems, planetary physics, ore deposits and collisions.

As part of our courses, you'll engage in fieldwork, which allows you to put knowledge into practice and develop valuable skills.

Some students have the option to work in the field mapping the geology of areas such as the Greek Cyclades, French Massif Central, Pyrenees, French Alps, and North West Scotland. 

In your fourth year, you study modules of your choice as you complete your Master's. You'll also undertake a major research project.

The planetary sciences are extremely popular due to the abundance of active and upcoming missions, requiring students to know the fundamentals of geosciences but also to be familiar with current knowledge and research problems.

Find out how solid planetary bodies are explored using geological and geophysical principles.

This degree focuses on planets, moons, asteroids, and comets, along with geological and geophysical processes in the Solar System. You will also learn about geosciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computing as part of an interdisciplinary degree.

During the first two years, you'll take core subjects alongside students from other Earth Science degrees.

As part of our courses, you'll engage in fieldwork, which allows you to put knowledge into practice and develop valuable skills.

Some students have the option to work in the field mapping the geology of areas such as the Greek Cyclades, French Massif Central, Pyrenees, French Alps, and North West Scotland.

In addition, you can spend a year abroad at one of our partner universities, where you'll be challenged in a different academic and cultural environment.

In your fourth and final year, you'll complete your studies at Imperial where you will undertake a research project.

The planetary sciences are extremely popular due to the abundance of active and upcoming missions, requiring students to know the fundamentals of geosciences but also to be familiar with current knowledge and research problems.

Study option:

Structure

This page is updated regularly to reflect the latest version of the curriculum. However, this information is subject to change.

Find out more about potential course changes.

Please note: it may not always be possible to take specific combinations of modules due to timetabling conflicts. For confirmation, please check with the relevant department.

You’ll take the following core modules.

You’ll also choose  three optional modules.

Core modules

  • Dynamic Earth and Planets
  • Stratigraphy and Geomaterials
  • Deforming the Earth
  • Physical and Surface Processes
  • Volcanism and Internal Processes
  • Programming for Geoscientists
  • Maths Methods 1
  • Geology in the Field

Optional Modules

  • Maths Methods 2 or Life over Deep Time
  • Chemistry for Geoscientists or Low Temperature Geochemistry

You’ll take the following core modules.

You’ll also take four optional modules in total. You will choose three from Group A and one from Group B.

Core modules

  • Pure and Applied Geophysics
  • Solar System Science
  • High-temperature Geochemistry
  • Maps and Structures
  • Remote Sensing Earth and Planets

Optional modules

Group A

  • Palaeontology and Optical Petrology
  • Maths for Scientists and Engineers
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Geology
  • Seismology and Numerical Methods
  • Mechanics and Waves
  • Sediments and Stratigraphy
Group B

  • Environmental Geochemistry and Climate Report
  • Rocks and Structures in the Field 
  • Field Geophysics

You’ll take the following core modules.

You will choose two modules from Group A, one from Group B and four from Group C. A maximum of three of these can be level 7 modules from Group C during this year.

Core modules

  • Independent Project
  • Advanced Remote Sensing
  • I-Explore

Optional modules

Group A
  • Continental Tectonics
  • Climate
  • Near-surface Seismic Imaging
Group B
  • Integrated Advanced Field Geology
  • Seismic Processing
  • Comparative Planetary Science
Group C – Level 6
  • Mining Environmental Management
  • Ore Deposits
  • Environmental Seminars
  • Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow
  • Tectonics of the Oceans
  • Planetary Surfaces
  • Advanced Programming
  • Gravity, Magnetism and Orbital Dynamics
  • Geological and Coastal Engineering
  • Astrobiology
  • Earth Systems
  • I-Explore
Group C – Level 7
  • Planetary Chemistry
  • Planetary Physics
  • Palaeobiology
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Geohazards
  • Geodynamics
  • Applied Geomorphology
  • Collisions and Craters
  • Meteorites
  • Geophysical Inversion
  • Advanced Exploration Geophysics
  • Geological Reactive Transport
  • Minerals Processing
  • Magmatic Processes and Products

Please note, you cannot take the same module twice in different years.

You’ll take the following core modules.

You choose six optional modules in total.

You can take either module from Group A and five modules from Group B or six modules from Group B. A maximum of three of these can be level 6 modules from Group B which may include an I-Explore module.

Core modules

  • MSci Independent Project

Optional modules

Group A
  • Field Geology of an Active Mountain Belt
  • Geophysical Synthesis Group Project 
Group B – Level 6
  • Mining Environmental Management
  • Ore Deposits
  • Environmental Seminars
  • Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow
  • Tectonics of the Oceans
  • Planetary Surfaces
  • Advanced Programming
  • Gravity, Magnetism and Orbital Dynamics
  • Geological and Coastal Engineering
  • Astrobiology
  • Earth Systems
  • I-Explore
Group B – Level 7
  • Planetary Chemistry
  • Planetary Physics
  • Palaeobiology
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Geohazards
  • Geodynamics
  • Applied Geomorphology
  • Collisions and Craters
  • Meteorites
  • Geophysical Inversion
  • Advanced Exploration Geophysics
  • Geological Reactive Transport
  • Minerals Processing
  • Magmatic Processes and Products

Please note, you cannot take the same module twice in different years.

You’ll take the following core modules.

You’ll also choose three optional modules.

Core modules

  • Dynamic Earth and Planets
  • Stratigraphy and Geomaterials
  • Deforming the Earth
  • Physical and Surface Processes
  • Volcanism and Internal Processes
  • Programming for Geoscientists
  • Maths Methods 1
  • Geology in the Field

Optional Modules

  • Maths Methods 2 or Life over Deep Time
  • Chemistry for Geoscientists or Low Temperature Geochemistry

You’ll take the following core modules.

You’ll also take four optional modules in total. You will choose three from Group A and one from Group B. 

Core modules

  • Pure and Applied Geophysics
  • Solar System Science
  • High-temperature Geochemistry
  • Maps and Structures
  • Remote Sensing Earth and Planets

Optional modules

Group A

  • Palaeontology and Optical Petrology
  • Maths for Scientists and Engineers
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Geology
  • Seismology and Numerical Methods
  • Mechanics and Waves
  • Sediments and Stratigraphy
Group B

  • Environmental Geochemistry and Climate Report
  • Rocks and Structures in the Field
  • Field Geophysics

You’ll spend the third year abroad.

The third year consists of an agreed programme of study at an approved university in either Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland or the USA. We currently have exchange agreements with:

  • Australian National Universty, Australia
  • University of British Columbia, Canada
  • University of Strasbourg, France
  • University of Utrecht, Netherlands
  • University of Barcelona, Spain
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • MIT, USA
  • University of California, USA

This is an integrated year abroad so the grades you achieve will count directly towards your Imperial degree.

You’ll take the following core modules.

You choose six optional modules in total.

You can take either module from Group A and five modules from Group B or six modules from Group B. A maximum of three of these can be level 6 modules from Group B which may include an I-Explore module.

Core modules

  • MSci Independent Project

Optional modules

Group A
  • Field Geology of an Active Mountain Belt
  • Geophysical Synthesis Group Project 
Group B – Level 6
  • Mining Environmental Management
  • Ore Deposits
  • Environmental Seminars
  • Hydrogeology and Fluid Flow
  • Tectonics of the Oceans
  • Planetary Surfaces
  • Advanced Programming
  • Gravity, Magnetism and Orbital Dynamics
  • Geological and Coastal Engineering
  • Astrobiology
  • Earth Systems
  • I-Explore
Group B – Level 7
  • Planetary Chemistry
  • Planetary Physics
  • Palaeobiology
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Geohazards
  • Geodynamics
  • Applied Geomorphology
  • Collisions and Craters
  • Meteorites
  • Geophysical Inversion
  • Advanced Exploration Geophysics
  • Geological Reactive Transport
  • Minerals Processing
  • Magmatic Processes and Products

Please note, you cannot take the same module twice in different years.

Professional accreditation

Accreditation is sought from the Geological Society of London and the Royal Astronomical Society.

Our Earth and Planetary Science degrees were launched for 2019 entry. Usually, a degree can be newly accredited once the first intake of students graduate. This will be in 2022 for our first BSc students and 2023 for our first MSci students. We will seek retrospective professional accreditation for students beginning from September 2019.

Associateship

In addition to your degree, you’ll receive the Associateship of the Royal School of Mines (ARSM) upon completion of this course. This associateship is awarded by one of our historic constituent Colleges.

Study option:

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning methods

  • Person at lectern giving speech
    Lectures
  • Four students sitting in a tutorial
    Tutorials
  • Field work
  • A group of people interacting
    Group exercises
  • Laboratory work

Balance of assessment

Key

  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Oral assessment

Year 1

  • 10% Coursework
  • 20% Exams
  • 70% Oral assessment

Year 2

  • 10% Coursework
  • 30% Exams
  • 60% Oral assessment

Year 3

  • 5% Coursework
  • 40% Exams
  • 55% Oral assessment

Year 4

  • 5% Coursework
  • 55% Exams
  • 40% Oral assessment

Assessment methods

  • A person completing a written exam
    Written examinations
  • Person completing coursework
    Coursework
  • Reports
  • Poster project
    Poster presentations
  • Person giving seminar
    Seminars
  • Oral assessments

Teaching and learning methods

  • Person at lectern giving speech
    Lectures
  • Four students sitting in a tutorial
    Tutorials
  • Field work
  • A group of people interacting
    Group exercises
  • Laboratory work

Balance of assessment

Key

  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Oral assessment

Year 1

  • 10% Coursework
  • 20% Exams
  • 70% Oral assessment

Year 2

  • 10% Coursework
  • 30% Exams
  • 60% Oral assessment

Year 4

  • 5% Coursework
  • 55% Exams
  • 40% Oral assessment

Assessment methods

  • A person completing a written exam
    Written examinations
  • Person completing coursework
    Coursework
  • Reports
  • Poster project
    Poster presentations
  • Person giving seminar
    Seminars
  • Oral assessments

Study option:

Entry requirements

We consider all applicants on an individual basis, welcoming students from all over the world.

Study option:

How to apply

Apply via UCAS

When applications open, you will be able to start your application via UCAS Hub. There you can add this course as one of your choices and track your application.

Apply via UCAS | F647

UCAS institution code: I50

Application deadlines – 31 January 2024 at 18.00 (UK time)

Apply via UCAS | F520

UCAS institution code: I50

Application deadlines – 31 January 2024 at 18.00 (UK time)

Tuition fees

Home fee

2024 entry

£9,250 per year

Year abroad

£1,385 for that year

Overseas fee

2024 entry

£40,940 per year

Year abroad

2024 entry

100% of the fee for that year

Your future career

Globe

Develop the essential core knowledge and skills for an earth sciences career.

Man with a rocket in his mind

Become a geologist, geochemist, or geophysicist with highly sought-after skills in space-related jobs.

Cap and degree

Our graduates often pursue further study in master's programs or doctoral research.

Man standing under a sign pointing different directions

Other potential career paths include geologists, risk consultants, geophysicists, consultants and research assistants.

Course data

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Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to Imperial. These include key information about your tuition fees, funding, visas, accommodation and more.

Read our terms and conditions

You can find further information about your course, including degree classifications, regulations, progression and awards in the programme specification for your course.

Programme specifications