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Planetary Science

UCLA's graduate program in Planetary Science is focused on training the next generation of planetary scientists by providing a curriculum of graduate-level courses as well as opportunities to conduct research at the forefront of knowledge in the field. Planetary Science encapsulates the scientific study of planetary bodies, a class of celestial objects that generally orbit stars but are distinct from stars in that their internal energy is not (and never was) derived from nuclear fusion. The 8 planets that orbit the Sun, their satellites, dwarf planets such as Ceres and Pluto, and minor planets such as asteroids and comets are all considered planetary bodies. Similar bodies orbiting other stars and those that have been ejected from their parent planetary system are also considered planetary bodies. Planetary Science addresses the formation and evolution of planetary bodies, their physical and chemical properties, their dynamical interactions, their geology, their climate, and their habitability. Components of interest include the interiors, surfaces, atmospheres, and magnetospheres of planetary bodies. Processes of interest include accretion, differentiation, heat production and transport including radioactivity, conduction, convection, and radiative transfer, dynamos, impact cratering, volcanism, tectonism, erosion, atmospheric dynamics and climates, tidal interactions, interactions between planetary layers, interactions with the host star. The field complements and overlaps with some aspects of Astronomy, Meteoritics, Geochemistry, Geology, Geophysics, Mineral Physics, and Plasma Physics, and employs a range of research approaches including theory, numerical modeling, experimental and observational studies using Earth and space-based telescopes and planetary spacecraft missions.
Program Admission Requirements (Grad Division Site)

Faculty In Planetary Science

Name Title Email
Vassilis Angelopoulos Professor
Jonathan Aurnou Professor
Caroline Beghein Professor
Mackenzie Day Assistant Professor
Mark Harrison Distinguished Professor Emeritus
David Jewitt Distinguished Professor
Abby Kavner Professor
Jean-Luc Margot Professor
Kevin Mckeegan Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Jonathan Mitchell Professor
Seul Gi Moon Associate Professor
William Newman Professor
David Paige Professor
Christopher Russell Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Hilke Schlichting Professor & Associate Dean for Research
Lars Stixrude Professor
Edward Young Professor