Master of Space Studies (Leuven et al)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The space sector plays an important role in economic, social, technological and scientific developments. The future of the sector and its manifold applications require highly skilled experts with a broad interdisciplinary perspective. The development of innovative space technologies is fostered by an intense symbiosis between technological sectors and the challenges set by fundamental research in exact and biomedical sciences. Additionally, the economic and social valorization of space technologies requires an efficient relationship between project developers and the economic sector.

The large scale of space projects imposes important constraints on management. The international character of the space sector and of its broad applications, including the relevance of space for security and defense, implies a need for European and international legal and political measures.

What is the Master of Space Studies all about?

The Master of Space Studies program is designed to prepare scientists to respond to a myriad of challenges and opportunities. In addition to coursework in space sciences, the curriculum is enriched by a Master's thesis and a series of guest lecturers from international, national and regional institutions.

This is an advanced Master's program and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


The program is conceived as an advanced master’s program and as such it requires applicants to have successfully completed an initial master’s program in either the humanities and social sciences, exact sciences, and technology or biomedical sciences.

The interdisciplinary nature of the program is expressed by the common core of 25 ECTS in introductory coursework. These courses are mandatory for every student. They acquaint the student with the different aspects that together form the foundation of space-related activities. The backgrounds of the students in the program are diverse, but all students have the ability to transfer knowledge across disciplines.

Depending on their background and interests, students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge through more domain-specific optional courses, for a total of 20 ECTS, covering the domains of (A) Space Law, Policy, Business and Management, (B) Space Sciences and (C) Space Technology and Applications, with the possibility to combine the latter two.

For the master’s thesis (15 ECTS), students are embedded in a research team of one of the organizing universities, or in an external institute, organization or industrial company, in which case an academic supervisor is assigned as the coordinator of the project. The master’s thesis is the final section of the interdisciplinary program, in which the acquired knowledge and abilities are applied to a complex and concrete project.


The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modeling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.

New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents, etc.) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programs.

Application deadline

  • 1 March 2018 (for non-EEA citizens)
  • 1 June 2018 (for EEA citizens)

KU Leuven uses an online application system. You can download and submit your application form via Students with a Flemish degree can consult

Tuition fee

For more information about our tuition fees, please visit

Is this the right program for me?

The interdisciplinary Master of Space Studies program is open to students who have already obtained a master’s degree. The criteria for admission to the program include the following:

the candidate has obtained an initial master’s degree for which he/she can motivate the relevance of space studies.

the candidate presents a 2-page essay with a consistent view of the importance of the program for his/her professional expectations, in view of the candidate’s previous education.

The candidate may be invited to an intake interview. The objective of the selection procedure with respect to the initial master’s degree is to verify the student’s chances of success. However, students with an initial master’s degree that does not have a direct apparent connection with space studies can still apply and may be accepted depending on the power of conviction of their background and argumentation.

Non-native English speaking students are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS certificate.

Career Paths

Graduates will be in a position to develop a career in the space sector or in space research.

Depending on his/her previous degree, the student will find opportunities in the space industry (engineers, product developers and technical-commercial functions with a high degree of technical and financial responsibilities), research institutions with activities in space (researchers and project developers), (inter)governmental bodies with responsibilities in research and development programs related to space (project managers and directors, policymakers on national, European and international levels). The spectrum of employment possibilities encompasses not only the space sector as such but also the broader context of companies and organizations which use or are facilitated by space missions.


The objectives of the program are to develop students' knowledge of all aspects of space studies generally and, specifically, to impart:

  1. the ability to situate the relevance of students' own curriculum in the broad field of space studies;
  2. specialized knowledge and attitudes in specific fields relevant to space studies;
  3. insight into the development and realization of large international projects;
  4. abilities necessary for the guiding of complex projects.

After the completion of the program, students will have attained the following learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding

LO1: Are capable of analyzing and understanding the main scientific, technological, political, legal and economical aspects of space activities.

LO2: Demonstrate an advanced knowledge in one of the following fields: A. Space Law, Policy, Business, and Management; B. Space Sciences; C. Space Technology.


LO3: Are capable of discussing and reporting on the main scientific, technological, political, legal and economical aspects of space activities.

LO4: Can apply, in the field of space studies, the knowledge, skills, and approaches they obtained during their previous academic master.

LO5: Are able to integrate their own disciplinary expertise applied to space-related activities within their broad and complex multi-disciplinary environment, taking into account their societal, technological and scientific context.

LO6: Can communicate clearly and unambiguously to specialist and non-specialist audiences about space projects in general and their specific area of expertise.

LO7: Have the skills to commence participation in complex space projects in multi-disciplinary and/or multinational settings in the framework of institutions, agencies or industry. This includes information collection, analysis and drawing conclusions, individually and/or as part of a team.

LO8: Can undertake research in the space field individually, translate the findings in a structured fashion, and communicate and discuss the results in a clear manner (oral and written).


LO9: Have a multi-disciplinary approach to complex projects, with special attention to the integration of the different and complementary aspects of such projects.

LO10: Understand and are able to contribute to exploiting the benefits of space for humanity and its environment and are familiarised with the broad spectrum of aspects of peaceful space activities, including the societal ones.

LO11: Have a critical approach towards the place of space activities in their societal framework, including ethical questions arising from space activities.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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