Masters degrees in Astrophysics involve advanced study of the physical nature of the universe, often touching on Cosmology (the origin, evolution and eventual fate of the universe).
Related subjects include Astronomy and Observational Astrophysics. Entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Physics or Astronomy.
Courses in this field encourage you to uncover how the creation of the universe happened, understand the history of stars and galaxies, and investigate how planetary systems and hospitable environments develop.
This involves applying theory such as relativity to understand matter, energy, space and time – including modelling the origins of black holes, neutron stars, dark energy and gravitational waves.
Delving further into cosmic origins, you might explore how stars, galaxies and planets are formed over time. This includes applying atomic theory to analyse elements such as hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and silicon.
Astrophysicists often undertake research on behalf of institutions such as universities, or large scientific organisations. For example, you could be responsible for developing technology for exoplanet exploration and interstellar analysis. Other careers include industrial applications such as aerospace engineering, as well as the civil service.
This MSc provides students with the skills, knowledge and research ability for a career in astrophysics. The programme is designed to satisfy the need, both nationally and internationally, for well-qualified postgraduates who will be able to respond to the challenges that arise from future developments in this field.
Students develop insights into the techniques used in current astrophysics projects, and gain in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area, through project work, as a member of a research team. The programme provides the professional skills necessary to play a meaningful role in industrial or academic life.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a choice of six optional modules (90 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months, part-time two years) is offered.
Optional modules 1 (15 credits each)
Students choose four of the following:
Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose two of the following:
Students submit a critical research essay of approximately 8,000 words and undertake an in-depth research project which culminates in a formal report and oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical, laboratory and computer-based classes. Student performance is assessed through coursework and written examination. The research project is assessed by literature survey, oral presentation and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Astrophysics MSc
Astrophysics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, for example information technology, Large Data science, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard a physics degree as flexible and highly desirable university training.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Astrophysics opens up many avenues to employment through the skills acquired: problem-solving; the training of a logical and numerate mind; computation skills; modelling and material analysis; and the ability to think laterally. In addition, work vision and enthusiasm make physics graduates highly desirable members of all dynamic companies.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area.
The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team. Examples include the Dark Energy Survey - investigating the origin of the accelerating universe and the nature of dark matter - the Hubble Telescope and the Cassini project.
In some cases, opportunities exist for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Physics & Astronomy
90% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme offers a wide range of courses on the subfields of astronomy and on research methodology. Special attention will be devoted to the analysis and astrophysical interpretation of data, as well as totechnological aspects of international astronomical research.
Upon successful completion of this programme, students will have acquired:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme consists of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System - ECTS), divided over two years. In the first year, theoretical courses provide a solid foundation for further study, while students develop their research skills by undertaking a research project. The second year includes the Master’s thesis, i.e. an extensive written report of research conducted in one of the department’s astronomy research groups.
The Institute of Astronomy conducts research on stellar astrophysics. The research performed at the institute is situated in the domain of stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution in a very broad context. Specific research themes of the institute include asteroseismology, stellar evolution and exoplanets.
A particular area of expertise is asteroseismology, the field that studies the internal structure of stars (massive stars, red giants, blue subdwarfs) through the observation and theoretical interpretation of their oscillation spectra. Early and late evolutionary phases of single and binary low-mass stars are investigated, with a particular focus on the interaction of stars with their circumstellar environments. The institute is involved in the development and exploitation of both ground-based and space-based instrumentation
The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modelling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.
New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents...) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programmes.
This Master's programme is strongly connected to research in astronomy and astrophysics and aims to prepare the students for research in this area.
At the end of this study the student will have acquired:
A research-oriented Master's programme in astronomy and astrophysics is essential to ensuring high-quality astronomy research. Graduates will have a competitive advantage when applying for a PhD, either locally or abroad, and the skills they acquire will also prepare them for research careers in a broad range of professional environments.
The Masters in Astrophysics gives you an understanding of the principles and methods of modern astrophysics at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.
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.
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.
The MSc in Astrophysics is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Physics and Astronomy. The programme is intended to provide an entry route to astrophysics research and potentially PhD programmes for students who have taken an undergraduate BSc degree in Physics, Mathematics or an equivalent cognate discipline.
The MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses including a 3.5-month significant research project and dissertation (15,000 words). Teaching methods include lectures and tutorials, covering areas of both theoretical and observational astrophysics, and modules are assessed through examination, research projects and continuous coursework.
Throughout the programme students will not only gain a full working knowledge of the fundamental aspects of astrophysics but will also develop their transferable skills such as programming, data analysis, problem solving, scientific writing, presentation and science outreach skills, enhancing employability in and out of academia.
Access to the University Observatory and James Gregory Telescope allows students receive a hands-on experience to develop their observational expertise, which can then be followed into their research projects with the option to use either facilities at St Andrews or remote observing facilities around the world.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
The program deepens the knowledge of basic elements of modern physics (atomic and molecular physics, solid state physics, nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics) and of theoretical physics (analytical mechanics, quantum mechanics, mathematical and numerical methods). It is possible to strengthen the knowledge of specific fields like biophysics, nanoscience, physics of matter, nuclear and particle physics, physics of the fundamental interactions, astrophysics. Finally, the program provides direct experience of the laboratory techniques and computer calculation techniques and data analysis.
The graduate in Physics will know and understand the most relevant phenomena of the physical world at different scales, starting from the macroscopic world down to the atomic physics, the physics of condensed matter, nuclear and subnuclear physics up to the physics of the universe. The understanding of the physical world will be based on experimental evidence and a proper use of the theoretical modelling and its mathematical instruments, including numerical techniques.
The second-cycle degree in Physics is divided in three curricula to be chosen by the student: Physics of the fundamental interactions, Physics of matter and Physics of the universe. For further information please check: http://en.didattica.unipd.it
The graduate in Physics can have jobs opportunities in Italy and abroad in industries involving new technologies regardless of the final products, in service companies aiming to innovation and, more generally, in all activities requiring understanding and modelling of processes and ability in analysis and testing. These include startups and high tech industries, software and consulting companies, research centers and public administration. They can also teach physics and mathematics in schools of different levels.
The University of Padova, the Veneto Region and other organisations offer various scholarship schemes to support students. Below is a list of the funding opportunities that are most often used by international students in Padova.
You can find more information below and on our website here: http://www.unipd.it/en/studying-padova/funding-and-fees/scholarships
You can find more information on fee waivers here: http://www.unipd.it/en/fee-waivers