Collaborative Specialization Planetary Science and Exploration


The Western Institute for Earth and Space Exploration hosts the only planetary science graduate collaborative specialization in Canada.

This specialization offers...

  • original student research
  • small group discussion of literature and current developments
  • an interdisciplinary approach
  • hands-on experience gained through laboratory and/or field work

Four Western departments are currently part of the Collaborative Specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration: Physics & Astronomy, Earth Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Geography.

Established in 2008, this program ranks among the top five worldwide in number of students, many of whom are major scholarship recipients. As of January 2021, over 130 students have participated in the program and have been offered a wealth of planetary science graduate courses unparalleled at any other Canadian institution. Graduates of this specialization have gone on to careers in industry, government and academia.

Why study Planetary Sciences?

Planetary science is an interdisciplinary field encompassing aspects of Earth Sciences, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Geography, History, Philosophy and many other allied subject areas. The focus of planetary science is on understanding the origin and evolution of planets and planetary systems and of life itself, with emphasis on the exploration of our own solar system.

Is Planetary Science right for me?

Planetary Science speaks directly to many broad, important questions of particular relevance in today’s society. Climate change (planetary atmospheres), the origin of life on Earth (astrobiology), and sustainability (planetary surfaces) are among the topics covered under the broad umbrella of planetary science.

Planetary science combines aspects of many disciplines. It offers opportunities to follow your interests, discuss and take part in cutting edge planetary exploration, find opportunities for summer fieldwork and hands-on laboratory work, and collaborate with space agencies and private partners.


Interested in applying?

Learn more about...

> program length, design & funding> admission requirements & how to join > application deadline> completion requirements> tuition & fees


The course schedule is subject to additions and changes. Please visit your department website to view courses offered directly through your department.

Full course catalogue and descriptions


If you're interested in joining the Collaborative Specialization and you have any questions, please reach out to