Benefits of the PSLU course

Skills Acquired

Graduates of the course will gain valuable skills rooted in the study of the physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology of planetary science and life in the universe. Transferrable skills training is delivered through the three group-based projects running over the year: these provide a unique opportunity for students to gain experience of leadership, collaboration, and written and oral communication. The training provided will be an outstanding foundation for PhD research in planetary science, exoplanetary science, Earth system science, planetary astrophysics, astrobiology and allied disciplines, or for the wide range of careers where analytical skills, excellent communication, and experience of leading collaborations are key.

Ice on Pluto. NASA New Horizons


  • Expertise in the techniques used to study planets, from the Earth’s deepest past to the solar system planets and on to exoplanets;
  • A working knowledge of the structure of life, its essential physical-chemical requirements, and its impacts on planetary environments;
  • A knowledge of the key scientific concepts in Earth Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology that contribute to Planetary Science and Life in the Universe; and
  • A clear understanding of methods and techniques to discover and characterise planets, exoplanets, and their biospheres.


  • Essential practical experience in running a research project in a team;
  • A competence in modern data handling techniques and an awareness of the wide range of the applications of these skills;
  • The ability to critically evaluate scientific tools and methodologies for their application in Planetary Science and Life in the Universe; and,
  • Originality in tackling and solving problems, and acting autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.

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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