Planetary Science with Astronomy (BSc): 4-year, part-time

Year of entry

2017

Start date

October 2017

Location

Central London or by distance learning

Status

Fully Approved
Applications for this course will open in October

Duration

Four years part-time

Attendance

Three evenings a week

Other entry years for this course

2018

This is a very exciting time for planetary science, with new data being returned by spacecraft from the Moon, Mars, Venus and Saturn, with forthcoming missions to Jupiter, Pluto, several asteroids and a comet, and with planets now being discovered orbiting other stars. There is also considerable scientific interest in the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe. On this course you can learn more about all of this and develop your knowledge of the solar system and its astronomical context. You can also study by distance learning, wherever you are in the world.

This course is also available for full-time evening study over three years.

Read more

Highlights

  • Our Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has been offering evening study courses for over 70 years and is ranked in the top three departments in the country.
  • You will learn in an environment of active research and be taught by lecturers who are working at the forefront of their specialisms.
  • Studying with us will give you access to world-class research facilities.
  • We retain close links with UCL's Department of Earth Sciences, sharing expertise, facilities and events across the two institutions, including live streaming of lectures and digital lecture notes. In our joint submission with UCL, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences at Birkbeck were rated sixth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • We are part of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (IEPS). The Institute hosts a NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility, which contains an archive, unique in the UK, of NASA planetary science image data, and this will be used extensively for teaching and project work.
  • Some modules include residential field trips to sites in Greece, Morocco, Scotland, Spain and Wales.
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Course structure

In Year 1, you take five compulsory modules and one option module (which may also be taken in Year 2).

In Year 2, you take four compulsory modules and choose two option modules. There may be an opportunity to undertake an option module in practical astronomy, run by UCL and conducted at an observatory in London.

    In Years 3 and 4, you take four compulsory modules, choose one option module and undertake a project. Some compulsory modules run in alternate years:

    • Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites/Volcanism in the Solar System
    • Scientific Computing and Data Modelling/Physical Principles of Astronomy
    • Exploration and Modelling of Planetary Interiors/Remote Sensing and Planetary Surfaces.

    You take both modules, but the order in which you take them will depend on which module of the pair is running when you reach Year 3.

    Read more about modules

    Year 1 compulsory modules

    Year 1 option module

    Year 2 compulsory modules

    Year 2 option modules

    Years 3/4 compulsory module

    Year 3/4 compulsory modules running in alternate years

    Years 3/4 option modules

    BSc Planetary Science with Astronomy project

    • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

      Entry requirements

      We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

      Alternative entry routes

      Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in a science-based subject.

      Students who successfully complete Birkbeck's Certificate of Higher Education in Earth History and Palaeontology, Forensic Geology, Geology, Mineralogy and Volcanology or Planetary Geology will be considered for a place on the BSc, with the possibility of exemption from the first-year modules.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

      If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.

      Fees

      Part-time home/EU students: £ 6935 pa
      Part-time overseas students: £ 9750 pa

      Additional costs

      As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

      On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

      There are four field trips available as optional elements of this programme, as follows:

      • The field trip to the Isle of Skye, Scotland includes costs for 11 nights’ accommodation (approximately £517, including evening meals), return flights to Inverness (from £100) and a minibus deposit (£120).
      • The field trip to Scourie, Scotland includes costs that usually total around £700.
      • The field trip to Greece includes costs for return flights (approximately £300), hotel (approximately £470) and vehicle hire (approximately £100).
      • The field trip to Morocco includes costs that usually total around £700 for flights and accommodation.
      • In addition, students will need to equip themselves with field-note books and stationery, compass and hammer and GPS equipment (both optional), hand lens, walking boots and all weather clothing for Skye and Scourie.
    • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

      Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      Mostly through face-to-face lectures.

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

      Academic support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      A combination of coursework and a final-year examination, generally in May or early June. The optional geology field classes do not have a final examination and are assessed solely on work performed in the field.

      Feedback

      As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

      Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

      Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

      Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

    • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in the oil, mineral and groundwater industries, education or research. This degree may also be useful in becoming an astronomer, research scientist, higher education lecturer or minerals surveyor.

      Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

      Graduate Destinations

      Average salary six months after the course: £26000

      Go on to work and/or study:

      Go on to work and/or study
      Now working: 90%
      Doing further study: 10%
      Studying and working: 0%
      Unemployed: 0%
      Other: 0%

      Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

    • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

      How to apply

      You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

      Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

      Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

      Application deadlines and interviews

      We suggest you apply as early as possible.

      Application to all September/October-start programmes at Birkbeck closes on Monday 16 October.

      Interviews by arrangement.

    Visit the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences