Students interested in planetary science at UCLA can take classes in several different departments on campus. A new major in Planetary Science is expected to be in place soon. For now, students who wish to study planetary science can major in Geophysics and Space Physics, Geochemistry or Geology within the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, or Physics and Astronomy within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Undergraduates can find graduation requirements for the EPSS, AOS, and PA departments here.
Planetary Science encapsulates the scientific study of planetary bodies, including the 8 planets that orbit the Sun, their satellites, dwarf planets such as Ceres and Pluto, and minor planets such as asteroids and comets. Extrasolar planetary bodies orbiting other stars or ejected from their parent planetary system also fall under this category. Researchers in the field study the geology, climate, and habitability of planetary bodies in order to better understand their formation and evolution and physical or chemical properties. Planetary scientists often specialize in sub-fields such as planetary interiors, surfaces, atmospheres or magnetospheres. The field of planetary science is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating aspects of Astronomy, Meteoritics, Geochemistry, Geology, Geophysics, Mineral Physics, and Plasma Physics.
The graduate program in Planetary Science will train the next generation of planetary scientists by providing a curriculum of graduate-level courses in these topics and by offering research opportunities at the forefront of knowledge in the field. We are seeking to establish a program primarily to formalize an existing strength of our Department, to increase its visibility, and to provide a logical home and degree to graduate students interested in this field of study.
Prospective or current students with questions about studying planetary science at UCLA should contact iPLEX or a department academic advisor.