Earth and planetary science, environment
Made possible by a collaboration between the Ecole normale supérieure - PSL, the Ecole nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris - PSL, the Observatoire de Paris - PSL and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes - PSL, the Master’s degree in Planetary Science from Université PSL offers state-of-the-art training in the fields of earth science, meteorology, oceanography, climate science and biogeoscience, as well as their applications for environmental science both on Earth and in space.
This Master’s degree program is designed to address the need to train a new generation of geoscientists who can quantitatively evaluate the operations and development of System Earth, a complex system of solid and fluid containers that interact across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Specifically, scientists are seeking fundamental knowledge about how matter and energy are exchanged and interface between those containers. In addition, they hope to address critical societal challenges ranging from natural hazards (earthquakes, flooding, cyclones, space weather) to climate change, resources (water, energy, minerals) and pollution of our soil, water and atmosphere.
The Master’s program offers comprehensive training in the earth sciences, atmospheric and climate science, oceanography and biogeoscience. It provides students with the quantitative and disciplinary foundation they need in order to play an active role in future geoscientific research and contribute to industrial innovation and R&D. It is designed to promote open-minded intellectual development and an interdisciplinary approach, and includes numerous activities in the field as well as multiple research internships. The training offers the necessary grounding in the earth sciences and provides participants with the disciplinary knowledge to pursue very high-level research in their chosen specialization or investigate the fields of the future in industry. It produces students with the ability to tackle weighty topics in all their complexity, including climate change, mitigation of natural risks, sustainable natural resources and the energy transition.
Curriculum and Tracks
This Master’s degree follows a single track devoted to comprehensive study of the planet Earth. Each student will define his or her own disciplinary focus. Students will be tutored by a researcher from one of our partner institutions, who will help them design their own learning path. Instruction is given in person, with a major research component.
It includes (1) a common core curriculum with both field internships (two) and research internships (two), (2) courses on quantitative methods in the geosciences and (3) a wide array of electives beyond the common core, all optional, that can be taken in either M1 or M2. As a result, students can design their own thematic or disciplinary focus by choosing electives after discussion with, and with the approval of, their mentor.
Who Should Apply?
Students holding a bachelor's degree in earth science, physics or chemistry or 180 ECTS credits from a scientific curriculum of bachelor's degree or equivalent level, and particularly students coming from the CPES of PSL, ENS - PSL, MINES ParisTech - PSL, or EPHE - PSL or other engineering programs and who wish to supplement their education in the field of geoscience and the environment.
Graduates of the program may go on to complete a doctoral thesis before embarking on a career in research and higher education. A growing number of students are choosing careers with large companies or major government institutions.
The training is backed by the research laboratories of ENS - PSL and partner institutions, specifically:
• Geology Laboratory, ENS - PSL
• Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory
• Institut Pierre Simon Laplace
• Geosciences Center, MINES ParisTech - PSL
• Observatoire de Paris
• Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE - PSL) (METIS, EPOC and LETG Joint Research Units)
The instruction draws on the research conducted at those laboratories and capitalizes on the expertise of many of their researchers.
Location of Instruction
Classes are held in the heart of Paris on the Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL's campus and on the campuses of the participating PSL institutions. The curriculum includes several field internships in France and abroad, as well as two laboratory research internships during M1 (five months abroad) and M2 (five months in France or abroad).
- An innovative approach built around a comprehensive perspective on “Planet Earth” (solid earth, ocean/atmosphere, space environment, interfaces).
- Instruction based on a “learn by doing” approach to research, with two lengthy laboratory internships in M1 and M2, the first conducted outside France.
- Unprecedented collaboration between some of the most prestigious academic institutions in France in the area of planetary science.
- Immersion in an advanced international research ecosystem, working closely with major laboratories and scientific innovation.
- Individualized training that draws on a wide range of electives, allowing students to define their own disciplinary focus in conjunction with their mentor.
- A flexible format in which courses can be staggered over the entire two-year period, as at most of the world’s top-tier universities.
- A curriculum that includes both a scientific and social component attentive to weighty topics such as climate change, mitigation of natural risks, sustainable natural resources and the energy transition.
- Proven career opportunities in both the business world and the public sector in addition to research and higher education.
- An international study environment, in which some instruction may be given in English.
- An unequaled campus life in the very heart of Paris, benefiting from the opportunities available at Université PSL to meet students from several institutions and move among a variety of campuses.
o Fall term internship: oceanography, geodesy, geology, atmospheric science.
o Five-month research internship (February to June) conducted outside France.
o Fall term field internship conducted outside France.
o Five-month laboratory internship (February to June).
Prerequisites to apply for M1
A bachelor's degree in earth science, physics or chemistry or 180 ECTS credits from a scientific curriculum of bachelor's degree or equivalent level, including students from engineering schools.
Process of selection: based on an application and interview.
• Applications must be submitted:
First session : from February 25 to April 17, 2020
Second session : from April 30 to May 25, 2020
• Interviews are conducted:
First session : from May 11 to 15, 2020
Second session : from June 10 to 24, 2020
• Admission results are announced in July.
For students coming from an institution outside Université PSL, the following items are required to apply for M1:
• A completed application form, submitted online.
• A curriculum vitae.
• An application letter explaining the candidate’s motivation for undertaking the research and, if possible, describing a research experiment conducted.
• Two letters of reference from teachers or researchers who followed the candidate’s academic performance in higher education and/or during a research internship.
• A copy of the candidate’s academic transcript or quarterly academic performance reports subsequent to the baccalauréat.
• A copy of all degrees earned subsequent to the baccalauréat or foreign equivalent.
Tuition fees are set by ministerial decree (€243 in 2019/20). Please note that you will also need to provide proof of payment for the CVEC (Student Life and Campus Fee) of €90. More information.
Institution for registration: Ecole normale supérieure - PSL (ENS - PSL)
Degree issued: French Master’s degree delivered by Université PSL
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