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Masters Degrees (Radio Astronomy)

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The Masters in Astrophysics gives you an understanding of the principles and methods of modern astrophysics at a level appropriate for a professional physicist. Read more
The Masters in Astrophysics gives you an understanding of the principles and methods of modern astrophysics at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.

Why this programme

◾The School has a major role in the award winning NASA RHESSI X-ray mission studying solar flares and in several other forthcoming international space missions such as ESA’s Solar Orbiter.
◾The School plays a world-leading role in the design and operation of the worldwide network of laser interferometers leading the search for gravitational waves.
◾Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow is ranked 3rd in Scotland (Complete University Guide 2017).
◾You will gain the theoretical, observational and computational skills necessary to analyse and solve advanced astrophysics problems, providing you with an excellent foundation for a career of scientific leadership in academia or industry.
◾You will develop transferable skills that will improve your career prospects, such as project management, team-working, advanced data analysis, problem-solving, critical evaluation of scientific literature, advanced laboratory and computing skills, and how to effectively communicate with different audiences.
◾You will benefit from direct contact with our group of international experts who will teach you cutting-edge physics and supervise your projects.
◾With a 93% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2016, Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow continues to meet student expectations combining both teaching excellence and a supportive learning environment.

[Modes of delivery of the MSc in Astrophysics include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, project and team work.

The programme draws upon a wide range of advanced Masters-level courses. You will have the flexibility to tailor your choice of optional courses and project work to a variety of specific research topics and their applications in the area of astrophysics.

Core courses include
◾Advanced data analysis
◾General relativity and gravitation (alternate years, starting 2018–19)
◾Gravitational wave detection
◾Plasma theory and diagnostics (alternate years, starting 2017–18)
◾Pulsars and supernovae (alternate years, starting 2018–19)
◾Research skills
◾Statistical astronomy (alternate years, starting 2017–18)
◾The Sun's Atmosphere
◾Extended project

Optional courses include

◾Advanced electromagnetic theory
◾Applied optics
◾Circumstellar matter (alternate years, starting 2017-18)
◾Cosmology (alternate years, starting 2018–19)
◾Dynamics, electrodynamics and relativity
◾Exploring planetary systems (alternate years, starting 2018-19)
◾Galaxies (alternate years, starting 2017-18)
◾Instruments for optical and radio astronomy (alternate years, starting 2018-19)
◾Statistical mechanics
◾Stellar astrophysics (alternate years, starting 2017–18)

For further information on the content of individual courses please see Honours and Masters level courses.

Industry links and employability

-◾The School of Physics and Astronomy is highly active in research and knowledge transfer projects with industry. Our Masters students have regular opportunities to engage with our industrial collaborators through informal visits, guest lectures and workshops.
◾You will also benefit from our membership of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance. The alliance brings together internationally leading physics research across Scotland to form the largest physics grouping in the UK.
◾Our staff and students come from all around the world providing a truly global experience. The School of Physics and Astronomy is committed to providing an equitable environment for study and work, in line with the principles of Project Juno of the Institute of Physics. This was recognised in 2011 by the award of Juno Champion status. We also have a strong programme of talks and seminars given by experts from the UK and abroad, which will give you the chance of broadening your knowledge in many other areas of physics and astronomy.

For further information please visit:

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance
Project Juno of the Institute of Physics
The award of Juno Champion status

Career prospects

Career opportunities include academic research, based in universities, research institutes, observatories and laboratory facilities; industrial research in a wide range of fields including energy and the environmental sector, IT and semiconductors, optics and lasers, materials science, telecommunications, engineering; banking and commerce; higher education.

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This programme will offer home astronomers, who may have graduated in subjects other than physics, the opportunity to gain a formal postgraduate qualification in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is designed to give students a robust and up-to-date background in these areas. Read more
This programme will offer home astronomers, who may have graduated in subjects other than physics, the opportunity to gain a formal postgraduate qualification in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is designed to give students a robust and up-to-date background in these areas. Over the course of two years, we will explore the solar system, stellar physics, infra-red, radio and high energy astronomy, as well as discussing the foundations of cosmology.

By its very nature, astronomy is a mathematical subject - students will therefore need a background in this area, although fully-supported maths master classes will be a permanent feature on the programme for those who need to refresh their skills in this area.

The programme starts in late September/early October each academic year, as well as a second start date in January each year – places are limited to ensure a constructive atmosphere for discussions.

This is a part-time, postgraduate-level programme delivered wholly online in a fully-supported learning environment. Students can exit with a Postgraduate Certificate after successful completion of the first year if their circumstances change.


Through this programme, students will:
-Gain a comprehensive knowledge of the development of astronomy, astronomy in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, the solar system and stellar physics.
-Learn that physics is a quantitative subject and appreciate the use and power of mathematics for modelling the physical world and solving problems.
-Develop skills in research and planning and their ability to assess critically the link between theoretical results and experimental observation.
-Develop the ability to solve advanced problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
-Be able to identify the relevant physical principles, to translate problems into mathematical statements and apply their knowledge to obtain order-of-magnitude or more precise solutions as appropriate.
-Develop the ability to plan and execute under supervision an experiment or investigation, analyse critically the results and draw valid conclusions.
-Be able to evaluate the level of uncertainty in their results, understand the significance of error analysis and be able to compare these results with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data.
-Possess a more complete working knowledge of a variety of experimental, mathematical and computational techniques applicable to current research within physics.


This part-time two-year programme will comprise six 20-credit modules:
Year One
-Introduction to Astronomy
-Stellar Physics
-The Solar System

Year Two
-Infrared and Radio Astronomy
-High Energy Astronomy
-The Foundations of Cosmology

Students will be required to complete all these modules in the first instance, though additional modules may be added in the future to accommodate future programme growth and offer a broader learning experience.

It is anticpated that assessments will comprise a balance of short and long critical essays, conference style posters and maths-based open book problems.

Online Study

Our approach to e-learning is distinctive and may be different from your general perceptions about online study:
-Flexible, fully supported, modular delivery
-Taught exclusively online
-Two stages: Certificate and Diploma. Each stage typically takes 12 months
-Comprises six distinct modules
-Part-time study (approximately 15 hours per week) allows participants to structure their learning around the other life circumstances

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