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Astronomy

Further your passion for astronomy and gain a better understanding of our Universe with distance learning courses from some of the world’s leading experts.

We offer an exciting distance-learning programme of University courses and degrees in Astronomy, Cosmology, Astrobiology and a wide range of other fascinating subjects. 

Our entry point certificates are tailored for those with no prior knowledge of Astronomy, whilst our full range of advanced courses all the way up to a degree will suit students looking for a further challenge, with our BSc (Hons) Astronomy recognised by the Institute of Physics.

You will develop the full range of scientific skills through experimental and observational work undertaken at a distance, library research skills and report writing.

Whatever the length and mode of your studies – an Astronomy qualification can pave the way to a range of careers options, from working in education or an observatory to science communication and public outreach.

Why choose us?

This is the first and only distance-learning single subject Astronomy degree available from a UK university. All courses include detailed course notes, self-test exercises and assessments with study and tutorial support is provided via email, telephone and online.

Study at your own pace – choosing how many modules to study each year. At first, you can test the waters with individual modules.

During your studies you will learn from some of the world’s leading experts, and also be invited to an optional weekend course at our Alston Observatory.

Sounds Interesting?

Course types

Our astronomy certificates are an ideal place to begin your studies and astronomy education as they require no prior knowledge of the subject. Each is a free-standing Certificate at HE Level 4 (Year 1 undergraduate level) allowing you to develop your fascination with your chosen subject.

When returning to astronomy education, we normally advise studying only one module in the first year of your astronomy course.

We judge each application on its merits to ensure that students can benefit from our courses. You will require GCSE Grade C in maths and English or equivalent to study these astronomy courses. The courses take a quantitative scientific approach and you will be using maths to solve problems from the outset.

Students who have completed some modules as free-standing Certificates may like to take their astronomy studies further. We offers a range of awards from the Certificate of Higher Education in Astronomy to a full 18-module BSc (Hons) in Astronomy.

All of these awards require you to have studied certain pre-requisite modules first. All are flexible in duration and allow you to choose modules from UCLan or appropriate credit-bearing modules from other institutes by a system of accreditation of prior learning.

Future Careers and Opportunities

While our courses let you explore your passions, they also offer the scientific skills and advanced understanding to enhance careers and open new possibilities such as postgraduate study.

Since our launch, we’ve supported many students through to becoming full graduates. While many studied the subject to indulge a personal interest, it’s also helped enhance their professional prospects. For many of our graduates, this course has been a foundation to build upon with further study at postgraduate level. For example, one of our graduates went on to achieve a master’s degree before working on a PhD in Astronomy in South Africa.

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Explore the facilities

Alston Observatory is our purpose-built teaching observatory, including a teaching room with planetarium, an optics lab and dark rooms. 

Our 24-node parallel processor high performance computers operating with shared memory and rapid data sharing the facility allows us to simulate complex physical systems, from nanomaterials to the galaxy clusters. 

Meet the team