Space Exploration Systems MSc, PGDip, 1 year, full-time

This is for you if... you want the in-depth knowledge and professional skills to embark on a successful career in the thriving and innovative international space industry.

School of Physics and Astronomy

Course description

Course description

Our Space Exploration Systems MSc focuses on robotic and human space exploration. The degree is managed by an international joint academic-industrial consortium with partners in France, Italy and the UK

Designed for physicists and engineers, this cutting-edge course explores space systems engineering, space instrumentation, the space environment, space power systems (including nuclear power systems) and space mission design. Over the duration of the course, you will acquire the core applied physics and engineering skills required to develop space systems and missions from initial concept through design, assembly and verification, to launch and operations.

You will have the opportunity to work with academic and industrial practitioners in three countries, to acquire the knowledge and skills expected by space exploration research groups and the space industry in the 21st century academic and commercial sectors.

This course bridges the divide between systems engineering and space and planetary science. For physicists, it provides the systems engineering knowledge required to work in industry. For engineers, it will stimulate an appreciation for space science, and the enabling technologies for robotic and human space exploration and instrumentation which contribute to that science.

You will be educated in an international environment, and will graduate equipped with the top-level competency, professional skills and advanced space project experience needed to meet the requirements of the European and international space sectors.

What's the difference?

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) has all the same taught modules as the MSc but without the research project or the placement. If you graduate with a PGDip you can upgrade to an MSc by completing the project component at a later date.

Download a prospectus (PDF, 950KB)

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

2:1 BSc, BEng, MPhys, MEng or Masters (or equivalent) in Physics or Engineering.

We may consider applicants with a 2:2, or a degree in another science subject, on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

UK and EU Students

This is the total course fee.

Starting in September 2019

  • MSc: £7,835
  • PGDip: £6,270

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Did you know you can apply for a Government Postgraduate Loan? Find out if you're eligible. (MSc only; not available for PGDip)

International Students

This is the total course fee.

Starting in September 2019

  • MSc: £19,930
  • PGDip: £15,945

You will need to pay a deposit of £2,000 to secure your place. This will be subtracted from your total tuition fee.

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

The MSc in Space Exploration Systems will provide you with the training and high-level skills required to meet the needs of the European or international space sector, whether in academia or industry.

By working in collaboration with industry, we can ensure that the project work and course content remains topical and relevant to industry needs and practices as the sector develops.

The skills you will develop in the project phase are excellent preparation for life in the workplace. Your knowledge and understanding of the pressures of industry-level projects will be greatly enhanced, and you will perfect the interpersonal skills required to work as part of a successful cross-disciplinary team.

Alternatively, this course offers a solid foundation for further study if you want to take a PhD or pursue a research career in applied/experimental physics or engineering.

Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

Course structure

Core Modules

Core Modules

Core modules

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

Plus your Major Project (MSc Only)

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Optional Placement

Optional Placement

The SEEDS (Space Exploration Development Systems) international placement is an optional extra project during which you will work in multidisciplinary teams on topical space exploration research projects, designed in collaboration with advisors from the space industry.

Leicester's partners in SEEDS are the Politecnico di Torino in Italy and the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in France. All three institutions have strong links with the space industry, a heritage of space research and exploration, and high-level expertise in the delivery of teaching. You will spend two months at each institution and will be required to cover basic travel and subsistence costs. The course is taught in English at all three sites.

The international SEEDS programme is supported and endorsed by the Italian (ASI), French (CNES) and UK Space Agencies, as well as Thales Alenia Space, ALTEC and numerous other companies and institutions.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Why Leicester?

At least one Leicester built instrument has been operating in space every year since 1967. Many of the insights and technologies pioneered by our expert academics during these missions have led to technology applications back home.

Our School of Physics and Astronomy is involved in a range of future missions including the ExoMars rover, and the JUICE mission to explore Jupiter, Ganymede and Europa.

You’ll be working with our leading academics who are at the cutting edge of their disciplines. By sharing their enthusiasm you’ll become part of a stimulating and innovative learning community, which will enable you to realise your potential and to compete alongside the very best.

Teaching and learning

The taught part of the MSc (which is also the PGDip course) runs for six months, comprising a mix of lectures, computational and practical workshops, lab work, seminars, project based learning, independent learning and team working activities. Assessment is a mix of exams, continuous assessment and course work.

Some of the seminars and course material will be delivered by industrial partners and experts in the space industry including international collaborators with honorary positions at the University of Leicester.

The project part of the MSc covers the next six months, during which time you will have the opportunity to interact with expert mentors and project supervisors from academia and industry.

Apply now

Course Qualification Duration Start Dates Availability
Course Space Exploration Systems Qualification MSc Duration 1 year full-time Start Dates September each year Availability Apply Now
Course Space Exploration Systems Qualification PGDip Duration 6 months full-time Start Dates September each year Availability Apply Now