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Planetary Geology Master's Degree Programs

Here we will look at some of the options available to you if you want to pursue a master's program related to planetary geology, including programs in geology, planetary science, and astronomy. Read on to learn about these programs and their standard admission requirements.

Possible Planetary Geology Master's Program Options

Although degrees specifically in planetary geology are hard to come by, there are several similar degree options available. When looking into studying planetary geology at the master's level, one may consider getting a master's in either geology, planetary science, or astronomy, all of which may sometimes offer planetary geology concentrations or courses. You may be able to find programs that expect a thesis, or programs that are entirely class-based but may require a final exam at the end.

Master's in Geology

For this program, you will likely take courses on petrology, paleontology, structural geology, and planetary geology, with some attention toward other environmental sciences, such as hydrology and geochemistry. You may also be given the opportunity to work with the technology and tools that are common to research, such as x-rays, different kinds of spectroscopy, and perhaps learn about developing nanotechnology in the field. This type of program generally takes about two years to complete, if done full-time. This kind of masters can allow you to explore a variety of geology related careers including geoscientist, or environmental scientist.

Master's in Planetary Science

Here, your program will likely take a focus on both Earth and other planets in our solar system. Since you are likely to be considering the environment of an entire planet, you likely would have to look beyond the geological components, meaning you may also be required to take classes whose primary focus can be areas such as chemistry or physics. However, many programs do have geology classes you can take, such as petrology. A master's degree in this field can allow you to explore career options like meteorologist or atmospheric scientist, or if you want to stay the geologic route, you may be able to become a geoscientist.

Master's in Astronomy

A master's in astronomy program tends to focus on aspects of the universe and then look at all of their scientific aspects. For instance, a class on galaxies may consider the physics and the chemistry that goes on in the dynamics and evolution of these bodies. This program generally takes about two years to complete if you take on a full-time course load. Careers you may be able to consider in this field include post-secondary instructor at a smaller institution that does not require a PhD, or as an analyst, studying how objects may operate in outer space.

Degree ProgramProgram Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master's in Geology 2 years Undergraduate degree Geoscientist; Environmental scientist
Master's in Planetary Science 2 years Bachelor of Science Degree Geoscientist; Atmospheric scientist
Master's in Astronomy 2 years Bachelor of Science Degree Post-secondary instructor; Analyst

Preparing to Apply

Despite the differences in these degrees, the admittance criteria is highly similar, although it is always a good idea to check each school's individual requirements. You will generally be expected to have completed a bachelors degree and provide your transcripts. From the transcripts, institutions may also want to discern whether you have adequate understanding of areas such as chemistry, physics, geology, and/or mathematics. You may also have to find two or three people. Often, you will have to write a statement of purpose, in which you will generally be expected to outline why you want to enter the program, what you bring to it, and what your goals are. You may also be expected to submit a copy of your resume.

You have a number of options available to you if you want to pursue a degree in the arena of planetary geology, including master's programs in geology, planetary science, or astronomy. Of course, you will have to examine each program to see which one is most aligned with what you hope to do. To gain admission, you should be prepared to make your argument as to why you deserve to be in the program.