About the course

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.

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

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
    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
  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Astrophysics Research Project 60 Credits Compulsory
    Statistics and Analysis 15 Credits Compulsory
    CFD Analysis for Aerospace Applications 15 Credits Optional
    CFD Techniques 15 Credits Optional
    MRI Science and Principles 15 Credits Optional
    CT Science and Principles 15 Credits Optional
    High Energy Astrophysics 15 Credits Optional
    Relativity and Field Theory 15 Credits Optional
    Galaxy Structure and Evolution 15 Credits Optional
    General Relativity 15 Credits Optional
    Quantum Field Theory 15 Credits Optional
    Nature of the Climate System 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

    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
    120 BBB: A minimum of a grade B required in Mathematics and Physics. DDM: Applied Science as well as A Level Maths grade B. 120 points: Must include maths and physics at HL grade 4 or above.

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 4 Years
    • Part Time, 8 Years
    • Sandwich, 5 Years
    Locations
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

    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)

    2021

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Part Time)
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    29/09/202122/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students