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Masters Degrees (Radio Astronomy)

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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.

Overview

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.

Structure

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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The other tracks of the programme are Materials Chemistry, Materials Physics, and Theoretical Physics. Upon graduation, you will be able to use the diverse set of skills acquired as part of this track, including computational and numerical techniques. Read more

The other tracks of the programme are Materials Chemistry, Materials Physics, and Theoretical Physics. Upon graduation, you will be able to use the diverse set of skills acquired as part of this track, including computational and numerical techniques.

Programme structure 

The structure is modular. All modules have 20 ECTS. Each specialisation track has two obligatory modules that contain the core material of the field. In addition, there is one thematic module that may be chosen from the other modules offered within this programme or other programmes at the University of Turku. The fourth module consists of freely chosen courses and an obligatory Finnish language and culture course (5 ECTS). An MSc thesis (30 ECTS) in addition to seminar, internship, and project work (10 ECTS) are also required, details of which depend on the specialisation. 

Academic excellence and experience

The aim of the Master’s education is to support you to become an independent expert who can evaluate information critically, plan and execute research projects to find new knowledge, and to solve scientific and technological problems independently and as part of a group.

The Astronomy and Space Physics track includes a solid grounding in theoretical aspects as well as providing opportunities for observational studies (e.g. of supernovae or accreting black holes); the space physics group performs experimental, theoretical and computational research on high-energy phenomena in near-Earth space.

Master's thesis and topics

The Master’s degree programme includes a compulsory thesis component (30 ECTS), which corresponds to six months of full time work. The thesis is to be written up as a report based on a combination of a literature review and an original research project that forms the bulk of the thesis.

The thesis is an independently made research project but the project will be carried out under the guidance of leading researchers in the field at the University of Turku. It is expected that the student will be embedded within an active research group or experimental team, thereby providing ample opportunity to discuss results and exchange ideas in a group setting.

Specialisation tracks

The Master’s Degree Programme of Physical and Chemical Sciences has four tracks. A short description of each specialisation track is given below. You can find more detailed information of tracks from the specific site of each track in this portal (UTU Masters).

Students specialising in Astronomy and Space Physics can choose among three lines of studies: theoretical astrophysics, observational astronomy and space physics. You will acquire knowledge of various astrophysical phenomena and plasma physics, from Solar system to neutron stars and onto galaxies and cosmology. You will also get hands-on experience with observational techniques, space instrumentation, numerical methods and analysis of large data sets.

The studies of Materials Physics and Materials Chemistry give you an ability to understand and to develop the properties of materials from molecules and nanoparticles via metals, magnetic and semiconducting compounds for pharmaceutical and biomaterial applications. After graduation, you will be familiar with the current methodologies, research equipment and modern numerical methods needed to model properties of materials used in research and technology. Note that there is a sister programme (Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Sciences) with a specialisation in medicinal chemistry.

In Theoretical physics you can specialise in various fields at the forefront of European and international research such as quantum technologies, fundamentals of quantum physics, quantum information and optics, quantum field theory and cosmology. You will learn rigorous mathematical and numerical methods to model physical phenomena and solve physical problems with several possible interdisciplinary applications also outside physics. Examples are the studies of complex systems, data science, and machine learning.

Competence description

The Master of Science degree provides the skills to work in many different kinds of positions within areas such as research and development, education and management, and industry. The specialisations of Astronomy and Space Physics provide very good data analysis and programming skills, and thus many graduates have gone on to successful careers in the big data and finance sectors

During the master’s program in astronomy and space physics, you will study plasma physics and hydrodynamics, radiative processes, high-energy astrophysics and solar physics, galaxies and cosmology, astrophysical spectroscopy, radio astronomy and X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, numerical techniques and programming, statistical methods and particle and photons detectors. You will carry-out hands-on exercises in observational techniques, space instrumentation, and analysis of large data sets. You will also be able to remotely use modern observational facilities and to participate in building space-qualified instruments. You may choose among three lines: space physics, observational astrophysics and theoretical astrophysics. These studies will prepare you for a career in research and development in industry or can often lead into PhD studies.

Job options

The prospects for employment at relatively senior levels is excellent for those trained in the physical and chemical sciences. Thanks to the broad scope of the programme, the skills and knowledge developed as part of this education at the University of Turku provide many employment opportunities in different areas.

Many of our graduates choose to continue their education by pursuing PhD studies in Finland or other European countries (e.g., Belgium, Estonia, Germany and Norway). Others have obtained employment in the software and high-tech industries, for example.

Career in research

The Master’s Degree provides eligibility for scientific postgraduate degree studies. Postgraduate degrees are doctoral and licentiate degrees. The University of Turku Graduate School – UTUGS has a Doctoral Programme in Physical and Chemical Sciences, and covers all of the disciplines of this Master Degree programme. Postgraduate degrees can be completed at the University of Turku. Note that in Finland the doctoral studies incur no tuition fees, and PhD students often receive either a salary, or a grant to cover their living expenses. The Master’s programme is a stepping stone for PhD studies.



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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.

Programme Structure

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)

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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UBC research in astronomy and astrophysics covers most areas of current interest in this broad field, including a wide range of theoretical and observational studies in astronomy, and also experimental and theoretical studies in cosmology. Read more

UBC research in astronomy and astrophysics covers most areas of current interest in this broad field, including a wide range of theoretical and observational studies in astronomy, and also experimental and theoretical studies in cosmology. Research at optical wavelengths includes searches and orbital determination for asteroids and comets, photometric studies of stellar populations, particularly globular clusters, studies of distant galaxies and active galactic nuclei, and time-resolved spectroscopy of variable stars and active binary star systems. Studies at microwave and radio frequencies include research on variable radio sources, searches for pulsars, the early stages of star formation, relativistic jets, and balloon-borne measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation. A variety of theoretical work complements this research, with topics that range from planetary dynamics and the structure of neutron stars, to theoretical studies of structure formation in the early universe. Development of astronomical instrumentation is also supported.

What makes the program unique?

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at UBC is noted for the excellence of its research and its high academic standards and integrity. We are constantly rated as one of the top Physics & Astronomy programs in the world.

With approximately 100 regular faculty members, adjuncts, research staff and post-doctoral fellows, and almost 200 graduate students, we are one of the largest departments, and can offer a wide range of pure and applied research opportunities for students. Each year, our faculty bring over $20 million in research grants. This enables us to maintain world-class research laboratories and computational facilities, attract distinguished post-doctorate researchers, and support highly skilled engineers and technicians whose expertise is critical to our research.

We host a full range of presentations and seminars including many on current and emerging topics and technologies, and invite nationally and internationally renowned scientists to participate. We have weekly seminar series on Astronomy, Particle Physics, Condensed Matter, Biophysics, and Theoretical Physics. At our facilities at Vancouver General Hospital, TRIUMF, and AMPEL, seminars are held regularly for faculty and students.



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