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Astrophysics

Astrophysics BSc (Hons)

Do you ever wonder how our universe came to be? Our Astrophysics degree course provides you with essential training to help find the answer, in understanding the application of physics to the stars and galaxies which make up the universe, whilst developing your skills in scientific methods. You will also develop your mathematical skills, and benefit from a state-of-the art learning environment for practical analysis, interpretation and modelling of astronomical data. This will provide you with excellent observational, mathematical and logical skills and these problem-solving abilities will make you particularly attractive to employers, not just in astrophysics, but in a wide range of fields including oil and gas, and medical physics. 

All the BSc (Hons)/MPhys courses have common induction modules with the opportunity to choose your specialisation on completion: Physics, Applied Physics, Physics with Astrophysics, or Astrophysics. You can choose if you want to continue on to the MPhys route. If you are planning a career in scientific research, we would strongly recommend the four-year MPhys qualification.

The MPhys individual project provides an introduction to research and lasts a whole semester in the final year. This takes the place of the normal BSc project and may be undertaken abroad within a collaborating research group (such as Florence, Italy, South Africa or NASA).

The Masters MPhys course allows students to study to a greater depth than is possible on the Bachelors course, and takes and extra year to complete. You enrol onto the MPhys course in the first instance and can decide between BSc (Hons) and MPhys after the initial years of the course, taking into account your achievements and career aspirations. You will study six modules per year, making a total of 18 modules for the BSc and 24 modules for the MPhys.

Established in 1993, the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy exists to pursue research into the physics of stars, galaxies and the Universe.

The Institute currently has 38 members, including 13 research students and 6 PDRAs. We are involved in a number of international collaborations, including being the leading member of the United Kingdom Southern African Large Telescope Consortium. This provides access to a world-class 10-m telescope along with preferential access to other observing facilities at the superbly located South African Astronomical Observatory. In 2007 we became partners in the National Cosmology Supercomputer (COSMOS). We host the UK hub for data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Staff are also involved in our world-leading Astronomy by Distance Learning programme, delivered under our Study Astronomy brand.

You will have the opportunity to study abroad, either a whole year of study with an approved international partner university, or a project within a collaborating research group, such as in Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, or with NASA in the USA.

Graduates of Physics, Astronomy, and Astrophysics are amongst the most employable in the world and are in particularly high demand for technical and business sectors, where analytical and mathematical skills are at a premium. Graduates have found employment in industry, government research institutes, overseas laboratories and observatories, financial institutions, teaching and scientific journalism.

Most of our distance-learning Astronomy students have a passionate interest in the subject, and those completing the degree course can go on to further study, teaching, or work in an observatory. Other possible careers include science communication and public outreach.

Key Information

  • Duration:

    Full-time: three years; Part-time: typically six years depending on rate of study.

  • Level:

    Undergraduate

  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Award Type:

    BSc (Hons)

  • UCAS Code:

    F510; Short form: BSc/Ast

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:

    September

  • Fees 2018/19

    Full-time: £9,250* per year (UK/EU)
    Part-time: £1,540* per 20 credits studied (UK/EU)

  • View 2017/18 Fees

Scholarships and Bursaries

The University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to support you through your studies.

Discover More

Entry Requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS Points including B in Physics and Maths.  We operate a flexible admissions policy and treat everyone as an individual. This means that we will take into consideration your educational achievements and predicted grades (where applicable) together with your application as a whole, including work experience and personal statement. 

BTEC: Considered with Maths and Physics
Pass Access Course: 122 UCAS Points including 15 level 3 credits at Distinction in Maths and Physics
International Baccalaureate:Pass Diploma with 112 UCAS points from Higher Level Subjects
IELTS: 6.5
GCSE: 5 at grade C/4 including Maths & English or equivalent

Not got the grades?

If you do not meet the formal entry requirements specified, Foundation Entry offers an alternative route to study for this degree

Foundation Entry Route

Courses at a glance

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Physics
  • Introduction to Laboratory Physics (including the “Physics Challenge”)
  • Introduction to Astronomy
  • Introduction to Mechanics
  • Applied Physics and Linear Systems
  • Functions, Vectors, and Calculus

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Electromagnetism and Waves
  • Thermal and Quantum Physics
  • Astrophysics II
  • Laboratory Physics and Astrophysics
  • Ordinary Differential Equations

Optional modules

  • Scientific Computing
  • Vector Calculus
  • Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Formation, Structure, and Evolution of Stars
  • Relativity and Cosmology
  • Laboratory Physics and Astrophysics
  • Project

Optional modules

  • Electrodynamics and Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Condensed Matter (Solid State and Soft Matter)
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Partial Differential Equations and Integral Transforms

Open Day (Saturday 18 November 2017) - Register Now

Professional Accreditation

All of our on-campus courses in Physics and Astrophysics are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and completion leads towards Chartered Physicist (CPhys) status. Graduate IOP members can use the letters MInstP after their name.  Our distance-learning courses in Astronomy are recognised by the IOP, and courses in Astrophysics are also recognised by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and students are welcome to join and become Fellows of the RAS (FRAS)

Learning Environment

You will learn by a variety of methods including lectures, tutorials, seminars, problem classes, laboratory work, observatory experiments, individual project work and group work. Small class sizes ensure individual attention.

The course is assessed by a combination of written examinations, assignments, laboratory logbooks and reports, project report and presentations.

Facilities

We have recently invested over £200, 000 to install a new large telescope at Alston Observatory.

Specialist laboratory facilities for nuclear physics, optics, spectroscopy and electron microscopy support different aspects of the course.

The University has its own observatory, the Alston Observatory, one of the largest teaching observatories in the UK. It is used regularly by students on all degrees, and throughout the Astrophysics degrees, and enables you to make real astronomical observations.

UCLan’s Astrophysics course benefits from an excellent learning environment due to a number of state-of-the-art facilities. Our Astrophysics laboratories can be used for practical analysis, interpretation and modelling of astronomical data and using specialised software employed by research staff within the Centre for Astrophysics. This prepares graduates for the challenges of Earth-bound applications.

Alston Telescope

Opportunities

Through our well-resourced observatory and laboratory facilities, you will develop a sophisticated practical and theoretical knowledge base. Further opportunities are available for students to gain international experiences, as well as the potential to conduct research in specialist areas of study over the summer period (internships) under the supervision of renowned academics.

Important Information

Course Handbook

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry: 2017 Entry | 2018 Entry

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

* Tuition Fees

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated. Currently the 2018/19 fee level, which is due to increase in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rates has not been announced by the Government.

Entry Requirements

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information. UCLan requires all undergraduate applicants to have a minimum attainment of five GCSEs at grade C and above, or equivalent, (including Maths and English). In 2017 and beyond we will view the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to a C grade and will therefore require students to achieve GCSE Grade 4 or above. However, if the subject is relevant to our degree programme and requires a higher GCSE grade (e.g. GCSE B grade), and/or includes a Professional body that governs the entry requirements, Grade 5 or above may be required.