Introduction to Planetary Science

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Planetary Science

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Astronomy, Geology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course introduces the field of planetary science from an earth science perspective. For decades, planetary science was the realm of astronomers. This has changed completely over the past two decades: thanks to an ever increasing number of space missions carrying ever more sophisticated geological and geochemical instrumentation, earth scientists are now at the forefront of developments in planetary science. In this course, you will be introduced to modern planetary science.


    You will be given an overview of current ideas about the formation and early dynamics of our solar system, about the geological evolution of the surfaces and interiors of key solar system bodies including the Moon and Mars, and about the search for life outside the Earth. Discussion of the main tools used in planetary science missions will also be included, and the course will include an excursion to the ESTEC research center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Noordwijk. The course can also serve as a basis for further education and research in planetary science offered in the MSc Earth Sciences at the VU.

    Lectures, limited number of homework exercises, development of a planetary mission, and short presentation about recent planetary science peer reviewed paper.

    Written exam (65 per cent) and presentation (35 per cent)

    Basic knowledge of, or a deep interest in, geology and geochemistry is advisory.

    The course is open to all BSc students in Earth Sciences and all other natural sciences that have completed their first and second BSc years.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.