Master of space studies

The ISU Master of Space Studies Program (MSS) is intended for individuals seeking professional development, further academic study, or both, through a one or two-year graduate degree program.

ISU provided me with the fundamental knowledge to understand a new sector, the contacts necessary to navigate the industry, and the friendships to celebrate the good and bad times. ISU helped to organize an internship for me in Tokyo at Ispace, at the time a small company. As the company grew I became a manager, Managing Director of our EU subsidiary, and now the Vice President of Global Sales and Strategy

Kyle Acierno

MSS15, Luxembourg/Japan, ispace technologies inc Vice President of Global Sales and Strategy

The MSS aims are to:

  • Provide an interdisciplinary, international, intercultural (3Is) Master’s course for highly-motivated students from a diverse range of educational, cultural and professional backgrounds.
  • Deliver high-quality 3Is education in the space domain and associated areas which both enhances students’ knowledge, skills and effectiveness and offers them the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
  • Maintain, promote and build productive links with the global space community, including ISU alumni, and use these to provide a contemporary ‘real world’ dimension to the program.
  • Produce graduates capable of contributing effectively and holding responsible positions within the global space sector.

MSS Structure

The MSS is structured as a one- or two-year program. The first year is essentially a taught one and is delivered primarily at the ISU Central Campus in Strasbourg. Some students will take only this year and graduate with an a Master of Space Studies. During the first year, students who perform at an appropriate level may apply for the second ‘thesis year’ in which they perform a single extended piece of research or scholarly activity, either at ISU, or an appropriate host institution. These students will graduate with an MSc in Space Studies and Thesis.

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

  • M1-ITS Introduction to Space (10 ECTS)

☞ To introduce students to the fundamental MSS disciplines and build a firm foundation for interdisciplinary study in subsequent modules.

☞ To develop students’ transferable skills, including intercultural awareness, time management, team working, written communication and oral presentations.

  • M2-ISS Interdisciplinary Space Studies (20 ECTS)

    ☞ To extend students’ knowledge of the MSS disciplines and enhance their understanding of the interdisciplinary links between them.

    ☞ To demonstrate the integrated and interdisciplinary nature of space activities.​

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)
    ☞ To provide students with experience in interdisciplinary, intercultural and international (3I) teamwork.
    ☞ To develop in students the relevant skills (e.g., research, problem solving, design, communication, organizational and project management) required to perform a significant 3I project in a 3I team environment.
    ☞ To allow students to engage with and apply principles learned elsewhere in the course and apply them in a 3I context.
  • M4-IPR Individual Project (12 ECTS)

    ☞ To provide students with experience of performing a significant individual piece of investigative work characterized by a requirement for independent initiative, self organization and critical thinking.

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

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

  • M5-INT Internship (15 ECTS)

    ☞ To allow participants to apply their knowledge and skills to on-going activity in a real-world space context.

    ☞ To provide participants with the opportunity to establish professional links within the global space community

The 12-week internship is usually carried out in a space organisation or other host institution. Supported and advised by ISU, students identify their internship opportunities in accordance with their particular interests/ career goals. 

ELECTIVE MODULES are shorter, optional, taught modules designed to deliver academic program content. They are narrower and more discipline-focused than core modules. Students must take two elective modules. During MSS19, the following electives ran:

  • M7-LSS Life Support Systems for Future Human Space Voyages
  • M8-CMD ChipSat Spacecraft and Mission Design
  • M10-ABL Astrobiology
  • M13-NSE New Space and Entrepreneurship
Not all elective modules will necessarily be offered/run each academic year. This will depend on both resourcing and uptake.

MSS Year A can be completed in fulltime mode from September of one year to September of the following year or in part-time mode by completing one or more modules per year within a maximum of seven years.

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 seven years from the start of MSS Year A.



During the academic year, students have the opportunity to visit significant space-related enterprises and activities in Europe. Previously, visits have been made to Airbus Defence and Space, Safran Aircraft Engines, SES, European Space Operation Centre, European Space Agency HQ, European Astronaut Centre, CNES (French Space Agency), EUMETSAT, Telespazio Vega, UNESCO, University of Stuttgart Institute for Space Research and DLR (German Space Agency). Outside of the official MSS programme some students have organized their own visits to the ESA launch site in French Guiana, the European Space Technology Centre in The Netherlands and space-related facilities in Russia

Language Classes

Before the start of the MSS program, students are given the opportunity to attend a week of intensive French classes. 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. English classes are also offered during Module 1 to those students wishing to improve their English language skills in order to follow better the program.


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.

MSS Admissions Requirements

The ISU Admissions Committee assesses applicants to the MSc in Space Studies primarily on the basis of their academic and professional qualifications, their achievements, and their proficiency in English.

Applicants must have a Bachelor’s Degree or the equivalent, including 3 years of studies as a minimum, awarded by an accredited university. Information on academic qualification equivalencies may be obtained from the ISU Admissions Office.

Preference is given to applicants holding higher academic degrees and to applicants with professional experience in industry, government agencies or academic institutions.

Language Requirements: courses are carried out exclusively in English, and all applicants to ISU programs must demonstrate that they are sufficiently proficient in English to follow classes and to conduct project work.

FEES: the tuition fees for the MSc in Space Studies 2022-2023 are EUR 25,000.

The fees for taking the program in modules also amount to EUR 25,000, but a registration fee of EUR 400 will be charged each time the student registers for a subsequent module or series of modules during an additional academic year. Students who choose this option must complete their degree within seven years. The tuition fees for each module taken separately are available upon request sent to the Admissions Office.

Applicants for the MSS program 2022-2023 should apply online on the ISU website and send the requested documents by 15 March 2022 if they are in need of financial aid, and by 30 June 2022 otherwise. For applications received after the 15 March deadline, remaining partial scholarships may be granted on a first come first served basis until they run out.

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