Under- graduate



Foundation Entry Route

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

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  • Duration:

    Full-time: MPhys (Hons) is 4 years; Part-time: Typically 6 years depending on rate of study.

  • Level:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • UCAS Code:

    F511; Short form: MPhys/Ast

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this course?

Do you ever wonder how our universe came to be? Our MPhys 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.

Entry Requirements 2016/17

320 points at A2 including A/B in Physics and Maths
BTEC considered alongside Maths and Physics A2
Pass Access To HE with 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
International Baccalaureate 31P
IELTS grade 6 with no subscore lower than 5.5
5 GCSEs at grade C including Maths and English or equivalent

Entry Requirements 2017/18

128 points at A2 - including B in Physics and Maths (excluding General Studies)

BTEC considered with Maths and Physics A2
Pass Access To HE with 128 UCAS Points
International Baccalaureate: 30P
IELTS: 6.0 with no subscore lower than 5.5
GCSEs: 5 at grade C including Maths and English or equivalent 

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our important information.

UCLan Open Day, 12 November 2016 (Banner)

Course 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

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
  • Project

Year 4

Compulsory modules

  • Advanced Laboratory
  • Galaxies and Quasars
  • Sun, Earth, and Geospace
  • MPhys Project

Further Information

All the BSc (Hons)/MPhys courses have a common first year with the opportunity to choose your specialisation at the end of that year: Physics, Applied Physics, Physics with Astrophysics, or Astrophysics. You can choose if you want to continue on to the MPhys route at the end of Year 2. If you are planning a career in scientific research, we would strongly recommend the four-year MPhys qualification.

If you are interested in a career in scientific research, we would strongly recommend the 4-year MPhys course. The MPhys Project provides an introduction to research and contributes 50% to the final year assessment. This project work may be undertaken abroad within a collaborating research group (such as Germany, Italy, South Africa, or NASA).

The undergraduate Masters MPhys course, which allows students to study to a greater depth than is possible on the Bachelors course, takes four years to complete. All students are initially enrolled onto the BSc (Hons) course and then may have the option of transferring to the MPhys after Year 2, taking into account your achievements and career aspirations. You will study 6 modules per year, making a total of 18 modules for the BSc (Hons) and 24 modules for the MPhys.

The staff who teach on these courses are all members of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy. They all have doctoral research degrees and come from diverse and international backgrounds. Research interests include: solar physics; stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astrophysics; cosmology and large-scale structure; computational astrophysics; acoustics; optics and photonics; magnetic materials; condensed matter; and computational molecular modelling. 

Course Specification and Handbook

For a concise summary of the main features of this course, see our course specification.
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.

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

Apply Now

You can apply through UCAS to start in September 2017 until 30th June

Contact Us

+44(0)1772 892400

Fees 2017/18

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

Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated and may be subject to increase annually in line with UK Retail Price Index inflation rate

Further information:

For 2016/17 fees please refer to our fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

Professional Accreditation

All our courses in Physics and Astrophysics are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and completion leads to Associate Membership of the IOP. Graduate IOP members can use the letters AMInstP after their name and work towards Chartered Physicist (CPhys) status. 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.

Learning Environment and Assessment

In Years 1 to 3, six modules must be studied. In Year 4, half the time is spent on three lecture/lab modules, and the other half on the MPhys Project, which is a substantial research project. The first year of all the Physics and Astrophysics programmes is common, with optional modules and projects in Years 2, 3, and 4 determining the degree title.

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.


Alston Telescope

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

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.

Specialist laboratory facilities include nuclear physics, mechanics, optics, quantum physics, laser physics, spectroscopy and astrophysics, support different aspects of the course. The Physics Teaching Laboratories have recently benefitted from an investment of over £40,000 for new equipment.

The University has its own observatory, the Alston Observatory, one of the largest teaching observatories in the UK. It is used weekly by Year 1 students on all degrees, and throughout the Astrophysics degrees, and enables you to make real astronomical observations.


Progression onto the MPhys programmes is possible from any of the BSc (Hons) programmes in Physics and Astrophysics, subject to suitable academic performance. Normally students progress onto the MPhys programmes at the end of Year 2 or Year 3 of study on a BSc (Hons).

Each summer, UCLan offers a programme of Undergraduate Research Internships, and our MPhys students have been very successful in gaining these. Also, each year there are opportunities for students to apply for travel bursaries. Recent trips include South Africa, China, and Hawaii. There is also the possibility to study a year abroad at one of UCLan’s international partner institutions.

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.

Many of our MPhys graduates go on to further study, such as a PhD, or MSc degrees in a range of topics in physics and engineering. Some choose to train in teaching (PGCE), or find work in industry or government laboratories. An MPhys degree is a highly employable qualification.

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.