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Rosetta space mission

Postgraduate Diploma in Space Science and Technology

This postgraduate qualification is designed for those with an academic or professional interest in space science and the technology that underpins this discipline.  It equips students with the skills to carry out scientific investigations using space-based instrumentation, both individually and as a team. Students learn how to use a programming language in support of space science applications and develop other skills that are highly relevant to employment in the space sector. 

Key features of the course

  • Develops skills in conducting science in the space environment through the use of robotic experiments
  • Explores current debates in space and planetary sciences using data from space missions
  • Develops technical and professional skills according to individual needs and interests.


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2 - 4 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you need 120 credits as follows:

60 credits from the compulsory module:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Space science (S818)

This module provides an in-depth introduction to the methods of conducting scientific measurements in the space environment and the technologies needed for space missions.

See full description

60 25 Jan 2020

30 credits from List A:

List A: Optional modules Credits Next start
Managing technological innovation (T848)

This module explores the processes that underpin technological innovation an understanding of which is crucial whether you are a user or producer of technological innovation.

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30 01 Nov 2019
Project management (M815)

Postgraduate module for aspiring project managers and practicing project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects. APM accredited.

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30 01 May 2020
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2019

30 credits from List B:

List B: Optional modules Credits Next start
Finite element analysis: basic principles and applications  (T804)

T804 covers basics of finite element modelling of components and materials under static and thermal stresses as well as dynamic analysis using ANSYS software.

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30 01 Nov 2019
Manufacture materials design (T805)

Introducing materials processing from the perspective of a design engineer, this module explores how to make components, focusing on the interactions between manufacturing, materials and design.

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30 01 May 2020
Software development (M813)

Gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding, and analysis and synthesis skills that you will need to develop software artefacts fit for a real-world organisational context.

See full description

30 01 May 2020
Software engineering (M814)

Explore the advanced concepts and techniques used throughout the software life cycle, for the effective production and management of large, complex, and long-lived software systems.

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30 01 Nov 2019


You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 40 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20th March 2019.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Space Science and Technology entitling you to use the letters PG Dip SpST (Open) after your name. 


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

Entry to this qualification will typically require a minimum of an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in one of: physics, astronomy, geosciences, chemistry, engineering or mathematics. Space science (S818) should be studied as the first module in the qualification. Any prior entry requirements (pre-requisites) on constituent optional modules will need to be met separately, where these may apply. For further advice, contact us.

How long it takes

This qualification can be completed within two years, and up to a maximum of four years of the start of the first module.

Career relevance

This qualification is directly relevant to scientific and technical careers in the space sector. It is particularly relevant to roles that are concerned with acquisition, handling and interpretation of data obtained by space-based instrumentation.

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.