Master of Space Studies

ISU develops the future leaders of the world space community by providing interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international (3I) educational programs in all relevant space domains through core programs such as the Master’s of Space Studies (MSS) program.

Master of Space Studies

ISU develops the future leaders of the world space community by providing interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international (3I) educational programs in all relevant space domains through core programs such as the Master’s of Space Studies program. ISU also fosters entrepreneurship and supports start-ups in its dedicated incubator.

The ISU Global Faculty consists of more than 170 members worldwide, including the ISU Central Campus Resident Faculty; the Associate and Adjunct Global Faculty; and in addition many visiting lecturers from space agencies, industry, start-ups and academia share their experiences with the MSS students.

By joining the ISU network, students engage with world space experts who are shaping the development of the global space economy. In addition, the many visiting lecturers allow students to meet a powerful space network, benefitting their future careers.

Since 1996, the Master of Space Studies offers a one-year interdisciplinary graduate degree program that can be extended to a second year for in-depth research studies. The Master covers all aspects of the space domain in a unique 3Is approach and is designed for students from a diverse range of educational, cultural and professional backgrounds. All MSS students conduct team projects, individual projects, and internships throughout the course of their studies, often within the scope of ISU’s extensive partners network.

  • The MSS is intended for individuals seeking professional development, further academic study, or both
  • The MSS supports students that want to pursue a space career through ISU’s worldwide network of space organizations
  • The MSS supports experienced professionals in their career advancement, to facilitate a change of career within the space sector, or a career move into the space sector

The entire MSS curriculum (courses, projects, experiments, workshops etc.) reflects the activities of the dynamic public and commercial space sector.

With the arrival of NewSpace, new business models and partnerships between academia, research organizations and industry are emerging.

The space sector is increasingly integrated with other economic sectors, and international cooperation and multi-stakeholder partnerships will be the key for innovation.

The ISU Master’s Program curriculum strongly integrates global space economy trends in space applications, space science, space policy, and space exploration to provide cutting edge knowledge in navigation, telecommunication, Earth observation, space policy, space security, space law, and space entrepreneurship.

MSS Structure

The MSS 2022/2023 is currently structured as a one- or two-year program.

The first year is delivered primarily at the ISU Central Campus in Strasbourg (France).

Some students will take only this year and graduate with a Master’s degree of Space Studies.

During the first year, students who fulfil their academic performance at an appropriate level may apply for the additional thesis year in which they conduct in-depth space research either at ISU, or at an appropriate host institution. These students will graduate with an MSc in Space Studies and Thesis degree.

MSS Year A

MSS Year A is an intensive year worth 75 ECTS. It consists of three types of modules:

CORE MODULES are mandatory taught modules designed primarily to deliver academic program content and are broad and interdisciplinary in their scope.

  • M1-ITS Introduction to Space (10 ECTS)

☞ Introduces students to the fundamental space- related disciplines and builds a firm foundation for interdisciplinary study in subsequent modules

☞ Develops students’ transferable skills, including intercultural awareness, time management, team working, written communication, and oral presentation skills

  • M2-ISS Interdisciplinary Space Studies (20 ECTS)

    ☞ Advances students’ knowledge of the global space sector and trends and enhances their understanding of the interdisciplinary links between them

    ☞ Demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of space activities and their integration with other economic sectors, in particular with the NewSpace environment

PRACTICE MODULES are mandatory student-activity focused modules, designed to deliver experience in the application of academic program content in a broad 3Is context.

  • M3-TPR 3I Team Project (12 ECTS)

    ☞ Each year, topics are proposed to the students on a relevant subject of interest

    ☞ The students then perform, in interdisciplinary groups, a literature survey on the topic, with the main objective to detect knowledge gaps or opportunities

    ☞ The team then develops those gaps and opportunities and presents the result in a report and a presentation for a broader audience

    ☞ The team will afterwards, depending on the relevance of the outcome, be encouraged to publish or present the results in international conferences

  • M4-IPR Individual Project (12 ECTS)

    ☞ To provide students with experience of conducting independent research and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the selected space topic

    ☞ To train student in self-organization and critical thinking and to summarize their research findings in a publication-quality report

    ☞ To encourage students to explore the current limits of knowledge and demonstrate originality and creativity

    ☞ To develop in students a professional level of communication (orally, graphically and in writing)


  • M5-INT Internship (15 ECTS)

    ☞ Allows students without previous experience to establish a first real-world contact, working in a space-related organization

    ☞ Allows students with work experience to do an internship in another field, in order to gain a broader view and experience

    ☞ Allows students to enhance networking links essential for their further professional development

The 3 to 6 month internship is usually carried out in a space organization, space industry or start-ups, or other host institution. Supported and advised by ISU Resident Faculty, students identify their internship opportunities in accordance with their particular interests and career goals.


are shorter, taught modules designed to deliver academic program content in areas that students choose in terms of their career expectations or interests. They are narrower and more discipline-focused than core modules. Students must take two elective modules. During MSS22, the following electives ran:
• Space Pharmacology
• Astrobiology
• New Space and Entrepreneurship
• Space Architecture

Elective offerings vary each year to leverage emerging opportunities and new discoveries.

During the academic year, students have the opportunity to visit significant space-related enterprises and activities in Europe. Previously, visits have been made inter alia to Airbus Defence and Space, Safran Aircraft Engines, SES, ESA’s European Space Operation Centre, ESA HQ, ESA’s European Astronaut Centre, CNES (French Space Agency), EUMETSAT, Telespazio Vega, UNESCO, University of Stuttgart Institute for Space Research and DLR (German Aerospace Center).

MSS Year A must be completed in full-time mode from September 2022 to September 2023.

MSS Year B (Optional)

MSS Year B consists of a single module:

  • M14-THP Thesis Project (45 ECTS)

MSS Year B can be completed in full-time mode over seven months or in part-time mode over a longer period within a maximum of three years from the start of MSS Year A.
Eligible students work with a potential advisor to choose, develop, and conduct their individual research project, either at ISU with an ISU Resident Faculty advisor, or with one of ISU’s collaborating university partners.

Faculty and Lecturers


A significant part of the ISU academic programs are delivered by Resident Faculty who provide teaching and advisory support to all ISU programs and activities.

A number of the ISU Faculty not resident at ISU are involved in supporting the MSS as Visiting Lecturers or as mentors for students during their internships.

Language Classes


Before the start of the MSS program, students are given the opportunity to attend a week of intensive French classes to help with daily life in Strasbourg.

We highly recommend taking advantage of these classes in order to obtain a good basic level of French early on, before the program work intensifies.

These French classes are continued during M1-ITS at two levels: Beginner and Intermediate.

“ISU has changed both my professional and personal life. The MSS was not only a trampoline to achieving many of my dreams but also a tool to create new ones: It has given me friends, a job, a network I can rely on, knowledge, skills, and a whole new dimension of ideas on what I can achieve.”

Iliass Tanouti, MSS20



The MSS program curriculum is continuously updated to provide cutting edge education that reflects the rapid developments in the space sector, increased entrepreneurship and commercial opportunities. 

Applicants for the MSS program 2022-2023 should apply on the ISU website and send the requested documents by 31 May 2022 if they are in need of financial aid, and by 30 June 2022 otherwise.

Early applications are recommended, and for applications received after the 31 May deadline, remaining partial scholarships will be granted on a first come first served basis until they run out.

MSS 2023-2024 applications will open by mid-September 2022.



The MSS 2022-2023 fees are EUR 25,000, covering all tuition (living expenses are not included).

If you are in need of financial support, please check the Admissions – Funding and Scholarships page.

Student Affairs Services

Once candidates are admitted to the Master’s programme, they are put in contact with the Student Affairs Office to prepare their arrival in Strasbourg.

Here are the main questions candidates ask:

ISU provides newly admitted students a pre-arrival information package helping them deal with matters such as passport and visa requirements, insurance matters, opening a bank account, looking for an accommodation, student life in Strasbourg, etc.

All students coming to ISU must have a valid passport.
Students from the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco do not need a visa to enter France to study. Students from all other countries entering France for a study program for more than 3 months must obtain a long-stay student visa (also called student VLS-TS = “visa de long séjour étudiant – VLS-TS“). 

ISU provides newly admitted students a list of student residences in Strasbourg as well as a list of websites for accommodation search. 

ISU has established a partnership with Studapart, a dedicated housing platform offering accommodation opportunities in Strasbourg,  for students only. The Student Affairs Team will send you a personal login and password in order to access this platform. This service is free of charge for MSS students. More information here.

ISU really encourages newly admitted students to start looking for an accommodation as soon as they get admitted. Strasbourg is a student city and it’s a first arrived first served principle.

With your student status in France, you will get the basic French healthcare system. In addition, students are also required to subscribe to an additional complementary private insurance policy which includes cover for remaining health care expenses, repatriation to the home country in the event of an emergency, as well as personal, accident and third party liability coverage. This insurance coverage is mandatory for all students and must be valid from the moment they arrive in France until their departure at the end of the program. Furthermore, most owners require tenants to have an “accommodation insurance” when renting a flat/accommodation in France. More information on that will be given once the candidate  is admitted.

The Euro (€) is the official currency in France.

The students’ budget for accommodation and living expenses in Strasbourg will of course depend on their personal preferences and activities. However, we advise students to have a minimum budget of € 1.200 per month to cover for all expenses. Students can get discounts at some cultural places, cafés and bars with the student ID.

If you stay in France for more than three months, it is advisable – but not compulsory – to open a bank account. More information on the procedure to open a bank account will be given once the candidate is admitted.

ISU’s campus is located in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, a city neighboring Strasbourg. It is accessible by tram lines A and E directly from the city center of Strasbourg. Several bus lines connect the campus to other neighborhoods of Strasbourg. 

More information about ISU’s Central Campus

There is a student lounge in the ISU building with a kitchen area (fully equipped with microwave ovens, coffee machines, fridges, crookery, cutlery, etc.).

The is also a small gym which comprises two elliptical and exercise bikes, a treadmill, a hoop, and other sports equipment such as weights, yoga mats and jump ropes. 

Be aware that there are no dorms on campus. 

ISU organizes a few activities in September for students to discover the city of Strasbourg (boat tour, treasure hunt in the city, etc.).

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