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.  

Key Information

  • Duration:

    Full-time: three years / four years with industrial placement; Part-time: typically six years depending on rate of study.

  • Level:

    Undergraduate

  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Award Type:

    BSc (Hons)

  • Institution Code:

    CLANC C30

  • UCAS Code:

    F510

  • Campus:

    Preston (Campus code: U)

  • Start Date:

    September

  • Astronomy at UCLan is 1st in the North West for assessment and feedback - National Student Survey 2019.
  • The pace of the course is flexible and you can choose how many modules to study each year.
  • There are opportunities for you to use observations from our new £200,000 telescope for your dissertation.
  • This course is recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and all graduates automatically meet requirements for Associate Membership of the Institute. You will also be eligible for free IOP digital student membership.

Course Overview

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Astrophysics 1: Structure of the Universe
  • Electromagnetic Radiation and Quantum Theory
  • Mechanics
  • Applied Physics and Linear systems
  • Practical physics 1 -  Programming and Experiment
  • Functions, Vectors and Calculus

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Astrophysics 2
  • Electromagnetism and Waves
  • Thermal and Quantum Physics
  • Special Relativity OR Solid State Physics
  • Practical Physics 2 - Computing and Experiment
  • Ordinary Differential Equations and Fourier Series

Optional modules

  • Physics Industrial Placement Year

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Formation, Structure, and Evolution of Stars
  • Cosmology and Galaxies
  • Practical Physics 3 - Experiment and Problem Solving
  • Project

Optional modules

  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Atomic Physics and Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • Electodynamics and Plasma and Solar Physics
  • Partial Differential Equations and Integral Transforms

More information about programme specifications and module information is available in the course handbook.

Fees 2020/21

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

Entry Requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS Points including A-level B in Maths and Physics.  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 A-Level grade B Maths and Physics
Pass Access Course: 128 UCAS Points including 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction in Maths and Physics
International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 128 UCAS points from Higher Level Subjects including HL5 Maths and Physics
IELTS: 6.0
GCSE: 5 at grade C/4 including Maths & English or equivalent

International Students

View our entry requirements for your country

Scholarships and Bursaries

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

Discover More

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

Check your points

Not sure how many points you have? Use our handy calculator and find out.

Points calculator

Further Information

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 10m 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.

Meet our students

Learning Environment and Assessment

A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits and each 20 credit (a standard module) equates to 200 hours of study, which comprises of a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and independent study. Independent study is an important aspect of your degree course. The exact combination of study time will be detailed within your module descriptors, and will depend on your option choices.

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.

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Staff Expertise

The staff who deliver the courses are members of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute within the School of Physical Sciences and Computing. The vast majority hold PhDs and are active researchers in a number of areas of physics and astrophysics. Many of our staff have a national or international research reputation, as assessed by the UK Research Assessment Exercise.

Read our Staff Q&A’S

Dr. Karen Syres  /  Dr. Mark Norris

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Sandwich Placement Year

This course offers an optional 48-week sandwich placement in industry – this comes between the second and third years. You are responsible for finding your own placement. We will support you in preparation for this with the Faculty Placement Team and UCLan Careers, who can help you plan and develop your CV and applications, and have practice interviews.

Placements are an invaluable opportunity to help consolidate your first two years learning, gain experience, and radically enhance your employability. The benefit of the experience gained during a placement is often evident in improved performance in the final year of the course, and when competing for graduate jobs.

A placement is invaluable to your development as a person and a developer, no matter in which field it is. I see no reason why you wouldn’t want to boost your CV above the rest and earn some amazing life and work experience while doing it. I met some amazing people whilst on placement, as well as doing some really meaningful and interesting work.”  - Ryan Sheff, Industry placement student

VIBRANT RESEARCH CULTURE

You will become an active part of our vibrant research culture – through research-informed teaching, projects and funded internships.

You will benefit from world-leading research-led content – astrophysics and physics, pioneering research in nanoscience, computational and experimental physics.

The Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy pursues research into analytical acoustics, non-associative algebras, model theory and its applications, theoretical and laboratory-based physics, and the astrophysics of planets, stars, galaxies and the Universe.

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.

IOP logo

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. 

Facilities

Specialist laboratory facilities include nuclear physics, mechanics, optics, quantum physics, laser physics, spectroscopy and astrophysics, and 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 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.

We have recently invested over £200,000 to install a new large telescope at Alston Observatory. The Moses Holden Telescope (MHT), a 70 cm diameter state-of-the-art robotic telescope is used for both undergraduate teaching and to encourage public engagement in science.

The Alston Observatory 

Nanophysics Laboratory

Course Enquiries

Telephone us: +44(0)1772 892400
Email us or Book a visit

Dr Darren Groombridge

Dr Darren Groombridge

BSc (Hons) Astrophysics, 1997

A career encompassing a doctorate, work in the nuclear industry and a stint applying his knowledge in cancer research and drug development all began at UCLan for Dr. Darren Groombridge.

Simon Ebo

Simon Ebo

MPhys (Hons) Astrophysics, 2018

Despite achieving poor results in his A Levels, Simon was determined to reach for the stars and pursue a dream career in Astrophysics. His prospects rocketed after he completed a Foundation Year at UCLan and now he is undertaking a PhD exploring planets beyond our solar system. After applying to undertake a Foundation Year at UCLan then completing the BSc (Hons) in Astrophysics, he is on track to enjoy a career that is truly out-of-this world. 

Important Information

This course is based in the School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Course Handbook

For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry: 2019 Entry | 2020 Entry
For information on possible changes to course information, see our Essential and Important Course Information.

Tuition Fees & Finance

*Tuition Fees are per year unless otherwise stated.
For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Further Information for students

You can find regulations and policies relating to student life at The University of Central Lancashire on our Student Contract page.

Entry Requirements

For changes to 2017 UCAS tariff entry requirements please see our Essential and Important Course 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.