MPhys (Hons) Astrophysics

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.

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.

What will I study?

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.

Professional Accreditations

The BSc degree has had accreditation from the Institute of Physics (IoP) for a number of years.

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.