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Space Studies

Master of Science

The Master of Science in Space Studies is an interdisciplinary degree with concentrations in aerospace science, astronomy, or space policy. The curriculum for this online space studies program – originally designed by former NASA astronaut Dr. James Reilly, veteran of three shuttle missions and five spacewalks – offers in-depth research projects and prepares you to meet the challenges associated with humankind’s exploration and usage of space.

This master’s program is taught by experienced astronomy and aerospace leaders who are practitioners in their fields. Knowledge obtained from this program is useful preparation for a career as an aerospace operations engineer/technician, observatory telescope operator, planetarium astronomer, space industry administrator, space journalist, or military space systems specialist. And, because the program offers 18 hours of graduate credits in the discipline, it will prepare you to teach at a college level.

Program Courses

The curriculum for this program follows industry trends to help ensure relevancy to today's marketplace. 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:

  • Develop an appreciation of the foundations and importance of space studies in the role of human space exploration/understanding of the cosmos.
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative research and statistical data related to the support of aerospace science, astronomy, or space policy concepts.
  • Assess the history, chronology, and concepts for placing manned and unmanned vehicles in space.
  • Evaluate the importance of remote sensing satellites used to observe our Earth and other celestial bodies in the Solar System.
  • Synthesize the psychological and physiological elements necessary to support human life in the space environment, including spacesuit design/development.

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

  • SPST503 - Chronology of Space
  • SPST611 - Aircraft Propulsion Systems
  • SPST612 - Rocket Propulsion
  • SPST613 - Satellite Communications
  • SPST615 - Aerodynamics
  • SPST616 - Aircraft Design


Prepares you for employment in the observatory, planetarium, or college classroom. A diverse range of courses provide an inclusive synopsis of astronomy – from the Solar System to stars and galaxies. You will learn about astronomical instrumentation, with the opportunity to access the university’s observatory and the PlaneWave CDK24 robotic telescope.

Sample Courses

  • SPST630 - Planetary and Solar System Studies
  • SPST631 - Astrophysical Studies
  • SPST632 - Lunar Geology
  • SPST633 - Astronomical Instrumentation
  • SPST634 - Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites
  • SPST635 - History of Astronomy

Space Policy

Cultivates leaders in the space industry, not only in NASA, but in the commercial realm of space operations. This concentration is ideal if you already have an administrative or business background. Coursework includes space diplomacy and law, space operations and organizations, as well as the historical, political, economic, legal, commercial, scientific, and technical challenges comprising this complex and rapidly changing discipline.

Sample Courses

  • SPST621 - Current and Emerging Space Powers
  • SPST622 - Space Policy
  • SPST623 - National Space Organization
  • SPST628 - Space Operations Structure and Design
  • SPST640 - Space Cooperation and Diplomacy
  • SPST671 - Space Law

Admission Requirements

Please be prepared to submit a legible copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (civilian students) or government issued JST or CCAF transcript (military students) upon request.

An APU admissions representative will contact you with further details about how to submit the required documentation after you complete the enrollment application.

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 APU admissions representative at 877-777-9081 or

Graduate Tuition Rates 

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

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, APU offers 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

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can 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

APU 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.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

This program resides in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) where more than 57 degree and certificate programs are available for students to find their area of interest ranging from space studies to environmental studies to IT and cybersecurity. American Public University is one of the few online colleges where you can work fully online to earn science and math bachelor’s degrees. Two of our bachelor’s programs (Natural Science and BSEE) are set up with full lab kits that are mailed to you to use at home. You won’t sacrifice hands-on experience with our online science programs! In addition, many of our STEM professors work to innovate their classroom, including Danny Welsch who uses video for you to learn from his virtual field trips.

The APU STEM program directors work with industry advisory councils to ensure that our students are prepared for the real world. APU also works with industry certifying bodies to ensure that our courseware meets the requirements of agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation (IACE) and the DoD Directive 8570.1M Information Assurance Management (IAM).

At APU, we understand your need for flexibility because most of our students are working adult learners who balance school around work and other life commitments. This is why we offer 8-week or 16-week online courses that start monthly. Through an online virtual classroom, you’ll communicate with students and professors in forum communities as you work to complete your weekly written assignments on your own schedule from anywhere in the world. And with our mobile application, you can even work offline and upload your assignments when you reconnect.

We encourage you to browse the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math webpage to learn more about the school and to find a program that’s right for you