Earth and planetary science, environment

Sciences de la terre et des planètes environnement
Program type Initial Training
Degree Master's
Graduate program(s) Earth Science and Biodiversity
Domain(s) Fundamental Sciences
Discipline(s) Sustainable development, Ecology, Géosciences, Geosciences, Space Science, Earth sciences
Teaching language(s) English
Place Paris

PSL host school

Other PSL school(s) contributing to the curriculum


Made possible by a collaboration between the Ecole normale supérieure - PSL, the Ecole nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris - PSL, the Observatoire de Paris - PSL and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes - PSL, the Master’s degree in Planetary Science from Université PSL offers state-of-the-art training in the fields of earth science, meteorology, oceanography, climate science and biogeoscience, as well as their applications for environmental science both on Earth and in space.
This Master’s degree program is designed to address the need to train a new generation of geoscientists who can quantitatively evaluate the operations and development of System Earth, a complex system of solid and fluid containers that interact across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Specifically, scientists are seeking fundamental knowledge about how matter and energy are exchanged and interface between those containers. In addition, they hope to address critical societal challenges ranging from natural hazards (earthquakes, flooding, cyclones, space weather) to climate change, resources (water, energy, minerals) and pollution of our soil, water and atmosphere.

This master's degree is part of PSL Graduate Program in Earth Science and Biodiversity.

Learning Outcomes

The Master’s program offers comprehensive training in the earth sciences, atmospheric and climate science, oceanography and biogeoscience. It provides students with the quantitative and disciplinary foundation they need in order to play an active role in future geoscientific research and contribute to industrial innovation and R&D. It is designed to promote open-minded intellectual development and an interdisciplinary approach, and includes numerous activities in the field as well as multiple research internships. The training offers the necessary grounding in the earth sciences and provides participants with the disciplinary knowledge to pursue very high-level research in their chosen specialization or investigate the fields of the future in industry. It produces students with the ability to tackle weighty topics in all their complexity, including climate change, mitigation of natural risks, sustainable natural resources and the energy transition.

Curriculum and Tracks

This Master’s degree follows a single track devoted to comprehensive study of the planet Earth. Each student will define his or her own disciplinary focus. Students will be tutored by a researcher from one of our partner institutions, who will help them design their own learning path. Courses are given in person, with a major research component.

It includes (1) a common core curriculum with both field internships (two) and research internships (two), (2) courses on quantitative methods in the geosciences and (3) a wide array of electives beyond the common core, all optional, that can be taken in either M1 or M2. As a result, students can design their own thematic or disciplinary focus by choosing electives after discussion with, and with the approval of, their mentor. 

Who Should Apply?

Students holding a bachelor's degree in earth science, physics or chemistry or 180 ECTS credits from a scientific curriculum of bachelor's degree or equivalent level, and particularly students coming from the CPES of PSL, ENS - PSL, MINES ParisTech - PSL, or EPHE - PSL or other engineering programs and who wish to supplement their education in the field of geoscience and the environment.


Graduates of the program may go on to complete a doctoral thesis before embarking on a career in research and higher education. A growing number of students are choosing careers with large companies or major government institutions.

Laboratories Involved 

The training is backed by the research laboratories of ENS - PSL and partner institutions, specifically:
•    Geology Laboratory, ENS - PSL
•    Dynamic Meteorology Laboratory
•    Institut Pierre Simon Laplace
•    Geosciences Center, MINES ParisTech - PSL
•    Observatoire de Paris
•    Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE - PSL) (METIS, EPOC and LETG Joint Research Units)
The education draws on the research conducted at those laboratories and capitalizes on the expertise of many of their researchers.

Teaching location

Classes are held in the heart of Paris on the Ecole Normale Supérieure - PSL's campus and on the campuses of the participating PSL institutions. The curriculum includes several field internships in France and abroad, as well as two laboratory research internships during M1 (five months abroad) and M2 (five months in France or abroad).

  • An innovative approach built around a comprehensive perspective on “Planet Earth” (solid earth, ocean/atmosphere, space environment, interfaces).
  • Education based on a “learn by doing” approach to research, with two lengthy laboratory internships in M1 and M2, the first conducted outside France.
  • Unprecedented collaboration between some of the most prestigious academic institutions in France in the area of planetary science.
  • Immersion in an advanced international research ecosystem, working closely with major laboratories and scientific innovation.
  • Individualized training that draws on a wide range of electives, allowing students to define their own disciplinary focus in conjunction with their mentor.
  • A flexible format in which courses can be staggered over the entire two-year period, as at most of the world’s top-tier universities.
  • A curriculum that includes both a scientific and social component attentive to weighty topics such as climate change, mitigation of natural risks, sustainable natural resources and the energy transition.
  • Proven career opportunities in both the business world and the public sector in addition to research and higher education.
  • An international study environment, in which some courses may be given in English.
  • An unequaled campus life in the very heart of Paris, benefiting from the opportunities available at Université PSL to meet students from several institutions and move among a variety of campuses.

Detailed curriculum

Research internships

•    M1:
o    Fall term internship: oceanography, geodesy, geology, atmospheric science.
o    Five-month research internship (February to June) conducted outside France.
•    M2:
o    Fall term field internship conducted outside France.
o    Five-month laboratory internship (February to June).

Prerequisites to apply for M1

A bachelor's degree in earth science, physics or chemistry or 180 ECTS credits from a scientific curriculum of bachelor's degree or equivalent level, including students from engineering schools. 

Process of selection: based on an application and interview. Online application from February 26 to March 24, 2024.

Main application materials:
•    A curriculum vitae.
•    An application letter explaining the candidate’s motivation for undertaking the research and, if possible, describing a research experiment conducted.
•    Two letters of reference from teachers or researchers who followed the candidate’s academic performance in higher education and/or during a research internship.
•    A copy of the candidate’s academic transcript or quarterly academic performance reports subsequent to the baccalauréat.
•    A copy of all degrees earned subsequent to the baccalauréat or foreign equivalent.

MASTER 1: depending on your profile (nationality, etc.), applications must be submitted on the new French platform "Mon Master" OR on the PSL application portal. Please consult this page to learn about the modalities and the procedure to follow according to your profile.

MASTER 2: on the PSL application portal for all applicants, French and international.

For PSL Phd track in LEarth sciences & biodiversity
Highly selective and entirely taught in English, PSL PhD tracks are 5-year fully funded programs intended for high-potential students hoping to become top level researchers, in France or abroad. Through its PhD Track Grants, PSL will support outstanding students for the entire duration of their graduate studies, from their Master’s to the completion of their PhD.
- Application procedure based on an application package (to be submitted online from 17 October to 11 December, 2023 on the PSL portal) and interview. 
Given the very high selectivity of the PhD Tracks, it is strongly recommended that you apply for the Master’s degree in parallel if you are interested in both programs. More information.

Tuition fees

Circa €243 per year. Please note that you will also need to provide proof of payment for the CVEC (Student Life and Campus Fee) of €100. More information.

Institution for registration: Ecole normale supérieure - PSL (ENS - PSL) 
Degree issued: French Master’s degree delivered by Université PSL 



Florence HABETS

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