Space Studies

Master of Science

The Master of Science in Space Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that examines the historical, political, economic, legal, commercial, scientific, and technical challenges comprising this complex and rapidly changing discipline. Through in-depth research and academic projects, the curriculum is designed to prepare well-rounded scholars and leaders to meet challenges associated with humankind’s exploration and usage of space. This master’s program is taught by space and aerospace leaders and practitioners, including a former NASA astronaut. The knowledge obtained from this program is useful preparation for a career as an aerospace engineer, atmospheric or space scientist, or aerospace operations technician.

This master’s program requires you to complete a senior-level capstone course to prove your proficiency in space studies. This capstone course includes a thesis proposal and a thesis project.

Note: Completion of college algebra is highly recommended for coursework in this program.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this online master’s program was originally designed by former NASA astronaut and Dean of Science and Technology Dr. James Reilly, veteran of three shuttle missions and five spacewalks. Course topics are regularly reviewed by an advisory council of industry experts for relevancy to today’s marketplace, and include:

  • Space studies research methods, theories, and presentation
  • Space programs, operations, policies, and issues
  • Orbital mechanics history, development, and use
  • Remote sensing satellite components
  • Satellite communications
  • The psychological and physiological effects on humans in space
  • Space law, including laws, policies, and issues
  • Aerodynamics and aircraft design

View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research and statistical analysis of data related to the support of space exploration and sustained flight.
  • Analyze the concepts for placing manned and unmanned vehicles in space.
  • Assess scientific principles and calculate problems related to space science and exploration.
  • Using the laws of planetary motion and gravitation, calculate and illustrate the effects that gravity has on two-body mechanics, including spacecraft maneuvers such as transfer orbits and rendezvous.
  • Examine liquid and solid rocket performance fundamentals including propellants, combustion principles, components, and general turbo-pump, and motor design.
  • Assess the institutions of space law and determine how these institutions affect applications such as remote sensing, communications, navigation, launch services, satellite exports, and arms control.
  • Distinguish organizations that are critical to the success of the technological advance of space infrastructure in the United States.
  • Evaluate the political and commercial significance of major national and international space missions, projects, and operations.
  • Articulate the dynamics that influenced the development of nuclear policies and strategies and how those forces evolved over time.
  • Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of a space control versus a space denial strategy, and how each fits into the national strategy of an ally or adversary.
  • Estimate the evolving capabilities and vulnerabilities of space command and control systems related to strategic nuclear weapons employment, and how those capabilities and vulnerabilities influence strategy and targeting.


Degree at a Glance


Concentrations are designed to help you group courses together so you can further specialize in your field and pursue a more focused path to degree completion. You will be asked to select a concentration when you enroll in this program.

Explore the concentrations available for this program.


Aerospace Science

Explores aerodynamics and propulsion systems, and their use in creating reliable aircraft and rockets. Topics include rocket theory and the potential future of rocketry. 

Sample Courses

  • SPST611 - Aircraft Propulsion Systems
  • SPST612 - Rocket Propulsion
  • SPST615 - Aerodynamics
  • SPST616 - Aircraft Design


This general concentration allows you to select from all concentration  courses offered within this program, enabling you to create your own focused area of study. View course catalog for details.

View other concentrations in this program to see sample courses.

  • SPST640 - Space Cooperation and Diplomacy

Planetary Science

Examines solar systems and their elements, as well as the potential threat posed to Earth by comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. Explores the significance of manned and unmanned lunar exploration and how astronomical instruments are used in space exploration.

Sample Courses

  • SPST630 - Planetary and Solar System Studies
  • SPST631 - Astrophysical Studies
  • SPST632 - Lunar Geology
  • SPST633 - Astronomical Instrumentation

Admission Requirements

  • All graduate programs require you to have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • If you have a non-U.S. transcript, please view our International Admissions page for more information.
  • There is no fee to complete our admission application. View steps to apply.  

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an admission representative at 877-777-9081 or

Graduate Tuition Rates  

Per credit hour: $350 | $325 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fee Details

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, we offer a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

As an accredited university, we accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Transfer Credits 

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

The university has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.