Rosetta space mission

MSc in Space Science and Technology

This qualification looks at space science and the technology that underpins it. Developed in consultation with the UK Space Agency and the space industry itself, it’s suitable for developing a career in the space sector. This MSc will equip you with the skills to carry out individual and team scientific investigations using space-based instrumentation. In addition, you’ll learn how to use a programming language for space science applications and develop skills relevant to further research or employment in the space sector. You’ll also conduct an in-depth research project in space science or space technology.

Key features of the course

  • Develops skills in conducting science related to the space environment through the use of remote 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.
  • Culminates with an in-depth individual research project in space science or space technology.

Masters degree

Course code
F77
Credits

Credits

  • 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.
180
How long it takes
3–7 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Stage 1 (60 credits)

60 credits from:

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.

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60 28 Jan 2023

Stage 2 (60 credits)

30 credits from:

List A

Module Credits Next start
Continuing professional development practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

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30 05 Nov 2022
Making strategy with systems thinking in practice (TB871)
TB871 builds capability for making strategy within your own chosen area of (professional) practice using ideas and tools from five traditions of systems thinking.

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30 01 May 2023
Managing change wih systems thinking in practice (TB872)

This module is about effecting systemic and systematic change in uncertain and complex situations, change that can transform situations for the better.

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30 No current presentation
Project management (M815)

This APM accredited module is ideal for aspiring project managers and practising project managers who wish to develop their knowledge and skills of managing technological projects.

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30 01 May 2023
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.

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30 01 May 2023
Technology innovation management (TB801)

This module examines innovation from a management perspective, enabling you to develop an understanding of how to contribute to the process and management of technological innovation.

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30 01 May 2023
Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module T848

30 credits from:

List B

Module Credits Next start
Advanced mathematical methods (M833)

This module uses the Maple computing language to teach: perturbation expansions, accelerated convergence, Padé approximations, asymptotic expansions, eigenvalue problems, and Green’s functions.

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30 07 Oct 2023
Calculus of variations and advanced calculus (M820)

M820 Calculus of Variations and Advanced Calculus covers functionals, Gâteaux differential, Euler–Lagrange equation, First-integral, Noether’s Theorem, Second variation/Jacobi equation and Sturm–Liouville systems.

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30 07 Oct 2023
Coding theory (M836)

This module examines error-detecting and error-correcting codes built on algebraic structures, with associated encoding/decoding procedures and applicability, concluding with elements of cryptography.

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30 07 Oct 2023
Data management (M816)

Discover the data management principles, practices and technologies required to develop policies, procedures and systems that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of an organisation’s data asset.

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30 No current presentation
Digital forensics (M812)
M812 covers the history of forensics, both criminal and criminal digital law, digital investigation techniques for desktop and mobile devices as well as forensic readiness.

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30 01 May 2023 FINAL
Environmental monitoring and protection (T868)

This engaging online module will equip you with information on monitoring, modelling, and preventive technologies for water, noise, air, and wastes pollution.

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30 No current presentation
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 No current presentation
Information security (M811)

Explore the professional and technical skills necessary to understand, document, manage and implement strategic and operational aspects of your organisation’s information security.

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30 No current presentation
Manufacture materials design (T805)

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

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30 01 May 2023
Network security (T828)

This module includes Cisco CCNA Security and Cyber Security Operations; explore information systems security management and secure internetworked systems.

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30 No current presentation
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.

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30 01 May 2023 FINAL
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 No current presentation

Stage 3 (60 credits)

60 credits from:

Module Credits Next start
MSc project module for MSc in Space Science and Technology (SXS810)

Plan and carry out an independent research project on a topic of your choice related to your studies on the space science and technology masters programme.

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60 No current presentation

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


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 successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Science in Space Science and Technology. You’ll be entitled to use the letters MSc (SpST) (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Regulations

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. 


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 15 March 2022.

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. Entry without an honours degree in one of these areas is at the discretion of the Qualification Lead and will depend on qualifications and relevant work experience. Please contact us at the link below stating that you wish to be considered for non-standard entry to the MSc in Space Science and Technology and give a detailed account of your qualifications and relevant experience.

Space science (S818) should be studied as the first module in the qualification and the compulsory MSc project module for MSc in Space Science and Technology (SXS810), as the final 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 three years, and up to a maximum of seven 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, handing and interpretation of data obtained by space-based instrumentation.

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