Postgraduate Master's Courses
Postgraduate master's courses are usually one or two years long. There are two main types of masters courses, taught or research.
A postgraduate master's degree is different from an undergraduate or combined master's course in that it is completed separately after you have graduated. They often allow you to specialise further in your chosen field, or to provide a new path into a different career.
If you're worried about being an older student, don't be - MSc's tend to be a popular option after a few years of work to open doors for the field you want to go into.
Research or Taught?
A research master's course is mainly focused on a research project. While you will for the most part work independently on a project, you will also attend some modules. These are a natural lead into a PhD.
A taught master's course will also usually require a project, but features a larger component of modules and is more similar to how undergraduate degrees are structured.
You can also opt to study a taught postgraduate diploma (PGDip) or certificate (PGCert) as a standalone option, or before you progress onto a master’s degree. They are both master’s-level qualifications but take less time to complete, and they don’t involve a research project/dissertation. The PGCert is typically equivalent to one semester of a full-time master’s degree, whereas a PGDip is equivalent to two.
There are also options to do postgraduate study via distance learning.
For postgraduate master's courses, there are a number of loans, grants and scholarships available. There is the option of taking out a Career Development Loan (different to Student Finance as you have to repay it whether you are earning or not). From 2016, the Government have introduced the postgraduate loan, which enables you to borrow up to £10,000 for course fees and living expenses. Unlike the Career Development Loans, you would pay this back along with any other students loans you have. Students can also apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA); this funding is non-repayable.
If you do a course that includes study abroad you can also apply for an Erasmus grant.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
The Open University offers a series of MPhil in Astronomy, (which cover astrochemistry, extragalactic astronomy, exoplanets and planetary physics, interplanetary dust, stellar astrophysics and astronomy education)
The Open University offers a series of MPhil in Planetary and Space Sciences, (which cover astrobiology and habitats for life, planetary surfaces and atmospheres, planetary formation and evolution, comets and asteroids and solar system formation)
MSc in Space Exploration Systems (University of Leicester) (with the option to study abroad, SEEDS)
Cranfield University offers a huge number of MSc degrees in aerospace (here is the direct link to the course finder page)