En Route M.S. Degree Requirements

Although the Department of Planetary Sciences does not admit students directly into a Master of Science (M.S.) program, students may still earn a M.S. degree in Planetary Sciences. There are two options available: (1) a “terminal” M.S. degree intended for students who either decide not to pursue the Ph.D., or who do not pass Ph.D. candidacy exam, and (2) a M.S. degree “en route” to earning the Ph.D. In the case of the former, in addition to other requirements, the student is required to write and defend a M.S. thesis. For students who have passed the Ph.D. candidacy exam and have met the M.S. course requirements, a M.S. thesis is not required for the en route M.S. Listed below are specific requirements for the en route M.S.


In order for the university to award the M.S. en route to a Ph.D., student must file a Request for Change of Program form with Graduate Student Academic Services (GSAS, UA Graduate College). Instructions for this process are below. Please contact the department’s graduate academic advisor for assistance.

Instructions for the PTYS "En Route" M.S. Degree

1. Print the Request for Change of Program Form or see academic advisor to get a copy.

  • Fill-in fields as required
  • Check the box for  "Adding Second Program"
  • Sign form

2. Return the completed and signed Request for Change of Program form to Amy Brenton (Kuiper 321); she will complete the "For Department Use Only" section and submit form to GSAS.

3. The M.S. program will be made available for you in GradPath.

4. Submit the Responsible Conduct of Research Statement in GradPath.

5. Complete Master's Plan of Study in GradPath

  • Select 3 PTYS core courses (9 units) that meet the M.S. requirement
  • Select 2 PTYS prefix courses (6 units graded ABC)
  • Select additional 15 units of coursework not being applied toward your minor
  • No 910 units are required
  • No thesis/defense is required

6. Complete and submit the Master's/Specialist Committee Appointment form (available in GradPath) when the Master's Plan of Study has been processed.

  • Indicate "No" to a Committee

7. If you have questions or concerns, contact Amy Brenton, Kuiper 321, 520-621-6954.