Astrophysics (MSc) 2020 entry
The MSc in Astrophysics allows students to gain experience in the core areas of astrophysics to develop the necessary research skills to carry out astrophysical research.
Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
- Start date: 7 September 2020
- End date: 30 September 2021
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
One year full time
- A good 2.1 undergraduate Honours degree in physics, mathematics or a related topic. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
- English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
UK and EU: £9,450
Wednesday 12 August 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.
- completed Astrophysics supplementary application form (Word)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
Astrophysics applicants should not submit a cover letter, CV or writing sample with their applications.
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.
- Research Skills in Astrophysics: provides the basic astrophysical background and introduces students to the research skills needed for a career in astrophysics.
Students choose six optional modules.
Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
- Advanced Data Analysis: develops an understanding of basic concepts and offers practical experience with the techniques of quantitative data analysis.
- Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics: introduces the concepts of fluid dynamics and describes their application while providing students with the opportunity to develop the numerical skills required for a computational approach.
- Contemporary Astrophysics: provides an annual survey of the latest, most interesting, developments in astronomy and astrophysics at the research level.
- Extragalactic Astronomy: introduces the basic elements of extragalactic astronomy, including the morphological, structural and spectral properties of elliptical, spiral, quiescent and star-forming galaxies.
- General Relativity: provides an introduction and applications to the theory of general relativity, covering its historic evolution, fundamental principles, advanced mathematics, derived predictions and experimental tests.
- Gravitational Dynamics and Accretion Physics: explores the basics of gravitational dynamics and accretion physics and their application to systems such as circumstellar discs, stellar clusters to galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
- Magnetofluids and Space Plasmas: covers the fundamental nature of magnetic field and plasma interaction to many problems in astrophysics, solar and terrestrial physics as well as efforts to harness fusion power using tokamaks.
- Monte Carlo Radiation Transport Techniques: introduces the theory and practice behind Monte Carlo radiation transport codes for use in physics, astrophysics, atmospheric physics, and medical physics.
- Observational Techniques in Astrophysics: provides a complete overview of the practical part of research in observational astronomy.
- The Physics of Nebulae and Stars 1: introduces the physics of astrophysical plasmas, as found in stars and interstellar space, where interactions between matter and radiation play a dominant role.
- Stellar Physics: develops the physics of stellar interiors and atmospheres from the basic equations of stellar structure and radiative transfer concepts developed in Nebulae and Stars 1.
Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).
During the final 3.5 months of the course, students undertake a research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation. Students select a project from a list of those available and are supervised by a member of the academic staff.
The project aims to develop students' skills in:
- searching the appropriate literature
- astrophysical theory
- experimental and observational design
- evaluating and interpreting data
- presenting a report.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.
The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.