About the course

Astrophysics is the study of the physical processes that shape the structure and evolution of the universe. This course seeks to provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of stars, planets and galaxies, as well as the universe itself. 

You’ll have the chance to study the cosmos in all its wonder, and gain a detailed physical understanding of how the universe works. The School’s vibrant research programme feeds into the course content and you’ll make extensive use of our superbly equipped observatory. You’ll also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year at a major astronomical research centre or an international observatory.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BSc (Hons) Astrophysics 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BSc (Hons) Astrophysics
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BSc Honours Physics and Astrophysics 2019 Programme specification 1 BSc Honours Physics and Astrophysics

Why choose this course?

  • On our Astrophysics BSc (Hons) degree you will study the cosmos in all its wonder, gaining a detailed physical understanding of how the Universe works. We put a lot of emphasis on understanding the physical and mathematical principles behind astrophysical phenomena.
  • You will also gain considerable hand-on experience of astronomical observations at our dedicated teaching observatory, beginning your studies there only a few weeks after commencing your degree with us.
  • During your second and third years you will specialise in more advanced Astrophysical topics, including the physics of the solar system and extrasolar planets, cosmology, and star formation and stellar evolution. We also offer a range of options in your final year, including learning how to plan space missions in Space Dynamics and the flight dynamics of rockets in Rocket Performance and Propulsion.
  • You will also carry out a final year investigative project in a cutting-edge area of Astrophysics research. You will be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers in the Centre for Astrophysics Research. Previous projects have included mapping the Orion Nebula with our telescopes at Bayfordbury, studying planetary systems with the Herschel Space Observatory, and modeling high energy jets from galactic nuclei.
  • If you’re continuing on our MPhys programme it’s possible to extend your project into your MPhys year. We also have an innovative strand of industrial projects supported by the Institute of Physics, that give you direct experience of working in industrial research.

Professional Accreditations

The BSc degree has had accreditation from the Institute of Physics (IoP) for a number of years. The BSc is currently being considered for re-accreditation and we are seeking provisional accreditation for the MPhys degree from the Institute of Physics (IoP).

I would not be where I am without the opportunities that opened up whilst studying at the University of Hertfordshire. From extracurricular projects, to connections with other world ranking Universities, I can but thank the university for their guidance and support that kick-started my career.

Samuel Nathan Richards, Mission Operations Specialist, NASA, SOFIA Mission

BSc (Hons) Astrophysics alumni

Course details

Careers

Your specialist physics understanding and range of technical and mathematical abilities mean you’ll be well equipped for careers in research or industry, or for postgraduate study. Our graduates find employment in international observatories, research institutions, engineering and financial industries, and teaching.

Teaching methods

We take pride in our student-focused approach to teaching Astrophysics. With one of the best student-staff ratios in the country we are able to put our focus on you as an individual and give you the support that you need to reach your full potential as an Astrophysics graduate. Our graduates are in a wide range of careers, from scientific research to teaching and industry.

We use a variety of teaching methods during our Astrophysics degrees, ranging from small-group tutorials, to lectures and practical classes.  A key feature is our observatory at Bayfordbury, where we teach you how to carry out astronomical observations in as close to a professional setting as we can make it.  Our typical intake of students is around 50-60 in each year, which means that our class sizes are small enough so that your lecturers will know you by name.  We place particular emphasis on transferable skills, employability and project work throughout the degree.

You will meet your personal tutor on a regular basis in small-group tutorials, which are a great way of reinforcing the material that you learn in lectures. We also offer a wide variety of support throughout your degree, from you lecturers, the School’s Maths Centre and peer support from our student proctor scheme.

Work Placement

All of our Astrophysics degree programmes can be taken as a sandwich degree, with a professional placement year. We have a dedicated Placements Tutor in our School who, along with the Careers & Placements Service, will help you find and set up your placement. Within the UK our students have worked at:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • the Rutherford Appleton Labs
  • the Met Office and
  • the National Physical Laboratory.

Many of our graduates go on to work or postgraduate study at their placement hosts.

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in the Sandwich Year through the University's study abroad
programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme. Past students have gone on research and study abroad placements to the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland and Singapore. Find out more about Study abroad opportunities.

Structure

  • Level 4
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    The Physical Universe 30 Credits Compulsory
    Mathematical Techniques 1 30 Credits Compulsory
    Special Relativity and Quantum Physics 30 Credits Compulsory
    Experimental Physics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Computational Modelling 15 Credits Compulsory
    Small Group Tutorial (Level 4) 0 Credits Compulsory
  • Level 5
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Mathematical Techniques 2 15 Credits Compulsory
    Electromagnetism 15 Credits Compulsory
    Optics and Lasers 15 Credits Compulsory
    Thermodynamics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Quantum Mechanics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Small Group Tutorial (Level 5) 0 Credits Compulsory
    Career Planning and Development 0 Credits Compulsory
    Programming 15 Credits Optional
    Professional Teaching Skills 15 Credits Optional
    Numerical Methods 15 Credits Optional
    Differential Equations 15 Credits Optional
    Physics of the Solar System 15 Credits Optional
    Extra-Solar Planets 15 Credits Optional
    Plasma Physics and Fusion Reactors 15 Credits Optional
    Motion and Tensors 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 6
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Condensed States of Matter 15 Credits Compulsory
    The Physics of Elementary Particles 15 Credits Compulsory
    Astrophysics Project and Investigative Skills 30 Credits Compulsory
    Star Formation and Evolution 15 Credits Compulsory
    Foundations of Cosmology 15 Credits Compulsory
    Rocket Performance and Propulsion 15 Credits Optional
    Professional Placement 0 Credits Optional
    Space Dynamics 15 Credits Optional
    Year Abroad 0 Credits Optional
    Computational Physics 15 Credits Optional
    Partial Differential Equations 15 Credits Optional
    Further Numerical Methods 15 Credits Optional
    Nonlinear Systems 15 Credits Optional
    Placement with Study Abroad 0 Credits Optional
    The Physics of Astronomical Spectra 15 Credits Optional
    The Early Universe and Galaxy Formation 15 Credits Optional
    Quantum Optics and Information Theory 15 Credits Optional
    Applied Optics and Photonics 15 Credits Optional
    Lagrangian Dynamics 15 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £1155 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £1540 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Fees 2020

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2020/2021 academic year
    Part time
    • £1155 per 15 credits for the 2020/2021 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £13000 for the 2020/2021 academic year
    Part time
    • £1625 per 15 credits for the 2020/2021 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points A Level BTEC IB requirement
    112 BBC: A minimum of a grade C required in Mathematics and Physics. DMM: Applied Science as well as A Level Maths grade C. 112 points: Must include maths and physics at HL grade 4 or above.

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Part Time, 6 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    Locations
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

    2020

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Part Time)
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

    2021

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Part Time)
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students