Study physics and astrophysics at UCLan in the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute (JHI) for Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, and you will not only receive high-quality teaching from world-leading researchers, you will also form part of our history.
Physics and astronomy have been taught continuously in Preston for over 190 years; and we trace our heritage back to Jeremiah Horrocks who made the first successful prediction and observation of a Transit of Venus, from central Lancashire in 1639.
Foundation Entry is available by completing an additional preparatory year as an alternate route if you do not meet the formal entry requirements specified.
“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to travel to America. The Arizona trip was part of a STEMettes mentoring programme, in conjunction with Deutsche Bank, while my visit to NASA Goddard was amazing. I was there for a week and I interviewed astronaut Piers Sellers and Nobel physics laureate John Mather along with writing blog entries for NASA Blue Shift.”
“A degree in astronomy is extremely rewarding. Not only have I had the amazing opportunity to embark on my chosen career as a Physics teacher, but the degree also opened doors to progress on to further postgraduate study within this field.”
“UCLan gave me the firm foundation of knowledge I needed to develop my career. I’m 100% certain I would not be where I am today without the quality of teaching, commitment and dedication from staff. Astrophysics is a fantastic degree course taught by some of the best lecturers I have had the privilege to know.”
“I was accepted onto the first ever Foundation Year intake at UCLan, achieving a 2.1 classification MPhys Astrophysics degree in 2018 before starting my PhD. I completed two summer internships. The first of these led to a publication in a notable scientific journal, and I was sent to the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA) in North Carolina, USA to present our work at an international conference.”
“My master's project looked at intermediate black holes in the galaxy to see if we can find any, which would be very interesting if we did. One of my favourite memories is my second year group project looking at the possibility of aliens in our galaxy. To any future students considering this degree I'd say that it's a hard degree but definitively worth it and very, very interesting."
Eva Currell, MPhys Astrophysics Graduate
Specialist laboratory facilities include nuclear physics, optics, quantum physics, laser physics, spectroscopy and astrophysics, and support different aspects of the course.
You will also benefit from Alston Observatory - one of the largest, best equipped teaching observatories in the UK. The observatory and its 20 plus telescopes are used weekly by Year 1 students on all degrees, and in all years of the Astrophysics degrees.
We have recently invested over £200,000 to install a new large telescope at Alston Observatory. The brand-new 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. Alongside the MHT we also have a range of smaller robotic telescopes ranging in size from 20 to 30 cm in diameter. Additionally, we host the historic Wilfred Hall Telescope on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Course staff are members of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute. 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.
Director of the JHI and Head of School: Prof. Derek Ward-Thompson
A full list of all staff can be found here.
Based at the UCLan Preston Campus, the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute (JHI) carries out teaching in the areas of mathematics, physics and astrophysics, and 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.
Find out more about our research
The Institute currently has a large base of over 60 members, including 20 research students and 5 post-doctoral researchers. They are involved in a number of international collaborations, including being the leading member of the United Kingdom Southern African Large Telescope Consortium.
The JHI collaborated on a Space Act Agreement with NASA that is unique amongst UK universities. This has led to UCLan partnership with several NASA sounding rocket including the High Resolution Coronal Imager (Hi-C) and the Marshall Grazing Incidence X-ray Spectrometer (MaGIXS).
Our degrees will prepare you for a career in a constantly changing subject that, thanks to constantly evolving technology, is a fascinating area to work in.
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.