About the course

Back to course listing

The MPhys allows you to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than the BSc. It’s particularly recommended if you’re interested in pursuing research in industry, government or academia, or if you want to go on to further postgraduate study. During the course you’ll study more advanced topics such as galaxy formation and evolution, high-energy astrophysics and atmospheric physics. You’ll also undertake a large research project within our Centre for Astrophysics Research. We have an innovative strand of industrial projects, supported by the Institute of Physics, that gives you direct experience of working in industrial research. You’ll also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year at a major astronomical research centre or an international observatory.

Why choose this course?

The MPhys programme allows students to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than our BSc programme. An MPhys is particularly recommended for those students interested in pursuing research in the industrial, government and academic sectors, and who are likely to consider undertaking further postgraduate study (MSc and/or PhD degrees).

  • The MPhys programme allows students to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than our BSc programme.
  • In the MPhys year you will study more advanced courses in a range of Astrophysics and Physics specialisms (including Galaxy Formation & Evolution, High Energy Astrophysics, and Atmospheric Physics), plus undertake a large research project within the Centre for Astrophysics Research.
  • Your research project will form a third of your final year and you will be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers while you work on a cutting-edge problem in modern Astrophysics. Previous projects include developing Lucky Imaging cameras at our observatory, studying extreme variable stars in the Milky Way, studying observations of powerful Active Galactic Nuclei, and designing new space telescopes to study extrasolar planet atmospheres. We 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.

Course details

Careers

Your in-depth, specialist physics understanding and range of technical and mathematical skills mean you’ll be well placed for a career in industrial or scientific research. Alternatively, you could stay in academia on a PhD programme, the number one destination for our graduates. Our graduates also 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.

Extracurricular activities

During your time with us we want you to have the widest opportunities possible to achieve your full potential.  So, alongside your studies, we also organise many optional extracurricular activities to help you gain professional Physics experience. We run regular summer placements and internships in our research laboratories, and make our facilities at the Bayfordbury Observatory open to you (once you have passed an accreditation course). Also, as a member of the South East Physics Network (SEPNet), our students have the possibility for summer internships with any of our 8 SEPNet partners.

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 University’s 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

Core Modules

  • The Physical Universe - 30 Credits
  • Mathematical Techniques 1 - 30 Credits
  • Special Relativity and Quantum Physics - 30 Credits
  • Experimental Physics - 15 Credits
  • Computational Modelling - 15 Credits
  • Small Group Tutorial (Level 4) - 0 Credits

Optional

Level 5

Core Modules

  • Mathematical Techniques 2 - 15 Credits
  • Electromagnetism - 15 Credits
  • Optics and Lasers - 15 Credits
  • Thermodynamics - 15 Credits
  • Quantum Mechanics - 15 Credits
  • Small Group Tutorial (Level 5) - 0 Credits
  • Career Planning and Development - 0 Credits

Optional

  • Programming - 15 Credits
  • Professional Teaching Skills - 15 Credits
  • Numerical Methods - 15 Credits
  • Differential Equations - 15 Credits
  • Physics of Solar System - 15 Credits
  • Extra-Solar Planets - 15 Credits
  • Plasma Physics and Fusion Reactors - 15 Credits
  • Motion and Tensors - 15 Credits

Level 6

Core Modules

  • Condensed States of Matter - 15 Credits
  • The Physics of Elementary Particles - 15 Credits
  • Astrophysics Project and Investigative Skills - 30 Credits
  • Star Formation and Evolution - 15 Credits
  • Foundations of Cosmology - 15 Credits

Optional

  • Rocket Performance and Propulsion - 15 Credits
  • Professional Placement - 0 Credits
  • Space Dynamics - 15 Credits
  • Year Abroad - 0 Credits
  • Computational Physics - 15 Credits
  • Partial Differential Equations - 15 Credits
  • Further Numerical Methods - 15 Credits
  • Nonlinear Systems - 15 Credits
  • Placement with Study Abroad - 0 Credits
  • The Physics of Astronomical Spectra - 15 Credits
  • The Early Universe and Galaxy Formation - 15 Credits
  • Quantum Optics and Information Theory - 15 Credits
  • Applied Optics and Photonics - 15 Credits
  • Lagrangian Dynamics - 15 Credits

Level 7

Core Modules

  • Astrophysics Research Project - 60 Credits
  • Statistics and Analysis - 15 Credits

Optional

  • CFD Analysis for Aerospace Applications - 15 Credits
  • CFD Techniques - 15 Credits
  • MRI Science and Principles - 15 Credits
  • CT Science and Principles - 15 Credits
  • High Energy Astrophysics - 15 Credits
  • Relativity and Field Theory - 15 Credits
  • Galaxy Structure and Evolution - 15 Credits
  • General Relativity - 15 Credits
  • Quantum Field Theory - 15 Credits
  • Nature of the Climate System - 15 Credits

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

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

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...

2019 entry 

72-168 UCAS points 

To include A level Maths and Physics at Grade C or above or a BTEC qualification in Applied Science plus A level Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall, 45 of these credits must be at Level 3. 30 of the Level 3 credits must be in Maths and Physics. IB  must include Maths and Physics at HL grade 4 or above.

GCSE English and Maths at grade 4 or above.

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency. The following qualifications and grades will be considered 
- GCSE English language grade 4 or above
- IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band)
Other English language tests are accepted. Please contact the International Office for details.

If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English and foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

Find out more about International entry requirements.

The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.

How to apply

2019

Start DateEnd DateLink
29/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Part Time)
29/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
29/09/201922/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

2020

Start DateEnd DateLink
29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Part Time)
29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
29/09/202022/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)