Both course and University requirements must be satisfied. If in doubt, please contact us.


Interviews will be held prior to recommending an offer of admission.

Course Requirements

  1. Prior coding experience is essential (of at least 40 hours or equivalent).
  2. A good 2:1 honours degree
  3. Students will need to be familiar with matrix algebra, calculus, statistics, and to be able to work with and solve differential equations. 

University Requirements

  1. Foreign language requirements:
    • IELTS score minimums of Listening 7.0, Writing 7.0, Reading 6.5, Speaking 7.0, Total 7.0 and CAE Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)
    • TOEFL score minimums of Listening 25, Writing 25, Reading 25, Speaking 25, Total 100 and CPE Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).
  2. Check the minimum university requirements.

Clouds on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran


Please note that applications are only accepted for Michaelmas Term entry (early October 2024). Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis from January. Applicants should normally expect to hear whether they have been successful within 12 weeks of the course application deadline.


Applicants for early funding competitions – such as the Gates Cambridge US round, for US citizens resident in the US – should apply by the relevant deadline for that funding source and will be assessed separately.

12 Oct 2023
funding deadline (US Gates)

5 Dec 2023
funding deadline (all others)

Have a look at the Fees & Maintenance calculator.

Visit the Cambridge University postgraduate finance pages for more information.

Earth from Saturn. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Casini

How To Apply

You will need to have the following ready:

  • two academic references
  • transcript
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English
  • Statement of interest (1500 characters) including your motivation for applying for this course, outline of relevant experience and interests, and state your choice of course pathway in the ‘Statement of interest’ section of the application form. (Please state your choice at this stage, so that your application can be forwarded to an appropriate academic for consideration.)
  • complete and upload this contextual admissions questionnaire: (Please copy and paste the link into your browser, complete the form, then save and upload it using the ‘Choose file’ button.)

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference

Impact crater in Mars Sirenum Fossae region taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 30, 2015. Credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona / Alfred McEwen

Core modules trace the requirements for life’s origins from its astrophysical origins to the emergence of biospheres, providing the essential knowledge for you to be research-active in planetary science and life in the Universe:

  • The origin of Planets – link to faculty on research pages. — for each of the bullet points
  • The origin of habitable Environments
  • The origin & Detection of Life
  • The origin and evolution of biospheres
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