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. 

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I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about astronomy at degree level at my own pace from distance, whilst working full-time. The tutors were great, very knowledgeable and approachable.
Person in graduation cap and gown smiling
Slawomir Bucki
BSc (Hons) Astronomy

Why choose us?

  • We are ranked 1st for academic support and 6th for overall positivity in the UK in the National Student Survey 2023 (compared with unis in the Guardian University Guide).
  • We offer the UK’s first and only distance-learning single subject Astronomy degree, all taught by some of the world’s leading experts.
  • Study at your own pace – you can choose how many modules you study each year, and even take an optional weekend course at our Alston Observatory.
Sound interesting?

Get to know us

Get a feel for our campus and meet current students and staff at an Open Day. It's the perfect way to get a taste of university life.

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Alston Observatory
Alston Observatory

Course types 

Astronomy careers

Our courses enable exploration of passions and enhance careers with scientific skills. While many study the subject to indulge a personal interest, it’s also helped enhance 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.

Studying Astronomy could lead to a career as a:

  • Astronomer 
  • Astrophysicist
  • Aerospace researcher
  • Aerospace developer
  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Meteorologist
  • Climatologist
  • Physicist

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Explore the facilities

The Alston Observatory is the purpose-built teaching and public outreach facility of the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute including a teaching room with Discovery Dome planetarium system. Our centrepiece is the Moses Holden Telescope, a 70 cm diameter state-of-the-art robotic telescope used for both undergraduate teaching and to encourage public engagement in science. On-campus and distance learning students use its observations for final year projects

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Meet the team

Anne Sansom in a red blouse and glasses smiling
Dr Anne Sansom
Reader in Astrophysics
School of Engineering and Computing

Anne Sansom is a Reader in Astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire. Since 1992 she has taught at UCLan on astronomy, mathematics and IT courses, both on-campus and distance learning, and is also an active researcher within the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute. Previously,…

Professor Victor Debattista
Professor of Astrophysics
School of Engineering and Computing

Victor's research covers galaxy dynamics and formation using simulations and observations. He lectures on galaxies (as part of on-campus and distance learning provision). He is part of the MOONS collaboration, the Euclid collaboration, and serves on the UK Board of LSST. Alan sup…

Take the next step

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Study a degree at UCLan

Interested in studying a degree with us? From exploring accommodation to visiting us at an Open Day, find out everything you need to know about life at UCLan.

Common questions about studying Astronomy