Research course

Space and Climate Physics

UCL Institute of Education · Space and Climate Physics

Entry requirements

An upper second-class Bachelor’s degree, or a second-class Bachelor’s degree together with an MSc from a UK university in a relevant subject, or an overseas equivalent qualification.

Months of entry


Course content

The topics for our cutting-edge PhD research projects fall within the research areas of the nine research groups at MSSL: astrophysics, theory, solar physics, space plasma physics, planetary science, imaging, climate physics, detector physics/cryogenics and system engineering. Students are encouraged to become active members of their own group and also benefit from close contact with the wider research community at MSSL.

Research training takes place at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, except the System Engineering course where the students may work at the Bloomsbury Campus depending on their project. MSSL offers a unique environment at the forefront of space science. Scientists work alongside top engineers, designing, building and testing instruments for launch in space and analysing the data from both these instruments and others. Most research projects use data from either ground-based or space-borne instrumentation and students benefit significantly from the laboratory's involvement in numerous space missions. In addition to studying their chosen research topic, students are encouraged to increase their employability by learning other invaluable skills associated with the interdisciplinary nature this laboratory such as space technology, project management and where the data came from

Department specialisms

Astrophysics: cosmology; galaxy formation and evolution; active galactic nuclei; gamma-ray; neutron stars and magnetars Theory: theoretical and computational astrophysics of systems from planets, the sun, stars and galaxies to the universe and their associated radiative and dynamical processes Imaging: automated 3D vision and applications; spectro-fluorescence and isotopologue imaging for life detection; data mining for planetary surface change detection; climate change from ECVs Planetary science: plasma interaction processes; giant planet magnetospheres; plasma at Mars, Venus, Titans, moons and comets; dust-plasma interactions; ionospheres; surfaces and atmospheres from rovers Solar physics: solar activity and its consequences within the solar system; emergence and evolution of solar magnetic fields; solar eruptions; solar wind formation Space plasma physics: local space environment, including physics of the heliosphere and terrestrial magnetosphere; magnetic reconnection, radiation belt and auroral particle acceleration; space weather Photon and particle detector development: particle detectors; charge-coupled devices; sub Kelvin cryo-coolers for space and ground based applications Weather and climate extremes: drivers, modelling and predictions for tropical and extra-topical storms; precipitation and temperature extremes worldwide; solar activity and cold winters. System engineering: system modelling and optimisation, risk modelling and management, technology planning, project management, defining system engineering.

Information for international students

Please see:

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,635 (FT) £2,315 (PT)
International students
£21,530 (FT) £10,765 (PT)


Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
36 months


full time
36 months
part time
60 months

Course contact details

Dr Daisuke Kawata
020 7679 3000
020 7679 3001