Master of Science in Space Studies (MSSpS) Degree

Program Learning Outcomes for the MSSpS Degree

Upon completing the MSSpS Degree, students will:

  1. Achieve advanced science, engineering, and computational skills and a broad understanding of the methodologies applied in the space industry. 
  2. Gain real life experience in solving technical problems in a science and technology environment.
  3. Develop business and communication skills to bridge the gap between science and business. 

Requirements for the MSSpS Degree

The MSSpS degree is a non-thesis master's degree. For general university requirements, please see Non-Thesis Master's Degrees. Students pursuing the MSSpS degree must complete:

  • A minimum of 39 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.
  • An internship of 3-6 months. Students must present a summary of their internship project in both oral and written form as part of the professional master's seminar.
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours at the 500-level or above.

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this degree program. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the PSM (Professional Science Masters) program director and the MSSpS advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the MSSpS Degree39

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
Required Cohort Courses
NSCI 501PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S SEMINAR1
NSCI 502SPACE STUDIES SEMINAR1
NSCI 511SCIENCE POLICY, AND ETHICS3
NSCI 512PROFESSIONAL MASTER'S PROJECT1
NSCI 610 / ENGI 610MANAGEMENT FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING3
Core Technical Courses
ASTR 570SOLAR SYSTEM PHYSICS3
STAT 605R FOR DATA SCIENCE3
MECH 572AEROSPACE SYSTEMS ENGINEERING3
Core Science and Engineering Electives
Select 2 from the following:6
ASTROPHYSICS OF THE SUN
EXPERIMENTAL PHYSIOLOGY
METABOLIC ENGINEERING
EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE
GEOLOGICAL AND GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
DESIGN FOR AEROSPACE ENVIRONMENTS
Statistics/Computation Courses
Select 2 from the following: 16
NUMERICAL ANALYSIS I
ENGINEERING ECONOMICS
REMOTE SENSING
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS
PROBABILITY AND STATISTICS
NEURAL MACHINE LEARNING I
MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS
REGRESSION AND LINEAR MODELS
An Internship (of 3 to 6 Months)
Practical experience is offered via a 3 to 6 month work immersion. 2
Elective Requirements
Select a minimum of 9 credit hours from 1 of the following areas, depending on the student's individual interests and career goals: 39
Engineering
ATOMSPHERIC PARTICULATE MATTER
ENGINEERING PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND ECONOMICS
ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES
STRUCTURAL DYNAMIC SYSTEMS
INTRODUCTION TO ROBOTICS
LEADING TEAMS AND INNOVATION
LEARNING HOW TO INNOVATE?
COMPUTATIONAL FLUID MECHANICS
AEROSPACE SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
GAS DYNAMICS
DESIGN FOR AEROSPACE ENVIRONMENTS
INTRODUCTION TO AERONAUTICS
INTRODUCTION TO FLIGHT MECHANICS
INTRODUCTION TO HYPERSONIC AERODYNAMICS
Sciences (Astro Science/Earth Science/Life Sciences)
NEBULAR ASTROPHYSICS
ASTROPHYSICS OF THE SUN
PROTOSTARS AND PLANETS
COMPACT OBJECTS
MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY
METABOLIC ENGINEERING
ADVANCED CONCEPTS AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS IN MODERN DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
ADVANCED MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS
COMPUTATION WITH BIOLOGICAL DATA
PROTEIN ENGINEERING
EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE
TOPICS IN PLANETARY DYNAMICS AND MAGMATIC PROCESSES
GEOMECHANICS
EARTH SYSTEMS MODELING: NUMERICAL TECHNIQUES AND APPLICATIONS
LIFE SCIENCE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & ROLES OF FOUNDERS & VENTURE CAPITAL IN HIGH-TECH STARTUPS
Management and Entrepreneurship
LEADING TEAMS AND INNOVATION
LEARNING HOW TO INNOVATE?
FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS
COMPLEXITIES OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT
LIFE SCIENCE ENTREPRENEURSHIP & ROLES OF FOUNDERS & VENTURE CAPITAL IN HIGH-TECH STARTUPS
APPLIED RISK MANAGEMENT
TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Total Credit Hours39

Footnotes and Additional Information 

Policies for the MSSpS Degree 

Space Studies Graduate Program Handbook

The General Announcements (GA) is the official Rice curriculum. As an additional resource for students, Space Studies publishes a graduate program handbook, which can be found here: http://gradhandbooks.rice.edu/2017_18/Professional_Science_Masters_Handbook.pdf

Admission

Admission to graduate study in Space Studies is open to qualified students holding a bachelor’s degree in a related science or engineering program that included course work in general physics, chemistry, calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations. Good scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE), good critical thinking and communication skills, and strong quantitative abilities. Statistics, introductory economics, and computer skills preferred. Department faculty evaluate the previous academic record and credentials of each applicant individually and make admission decisions.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities.

For additional information, please see the Space Studies website: https://profms.rice.edu/

Opportunities for the MSSpS Degree 

Fifth-Year MSSpS Degree Option for Rice Undergraduate Students

Rice undergraduate students have an option to pursue the MSSpS degree by adding an additional fifth year to their four undergraduate years of science studies. Advanced Rice undergraduate students in good academic standing may apply to the graduate program during their junior year. Upon acceptance, depending on course load, financial aid status, and other variables, they may then start taking required core courses of the Space Studies program during their senior year. A plan of study based on their particular focus area will need to be approved by the PSM (Professional Science Masters) program director and the MSSpS advisor. 

As part of this option and opportunity, Rice undergraduate students:

  • must complete the requirements for their bachelor's degree and the MSSpS degree independently of each other (i.e. no course may be counted toward the fulfillment of both degrees). 
  • should be aware that there could be financial aid implications, if the conversion of undergraduate coursework to that of graduate-level reduces their earned undergraduate credit for any semester below that of full-time status (12 credit hours).   

For additional information, please see the Space Studies website: https://profms.rice.edu/