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Course content

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.

Degree information

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:
-Planetary Atmospheres
-Solar Physics
-High-energy Astrophysics
-Stellar Atmospheres and Stellar Winds
-Galaxy and Cluster Dynamics
-Mathematics for General Relativity
-Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics

Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose two of the following:
-Physics MSc core modules
-Space and Climate Science MSc core modules
-Medical Physics MSc core modules
-Intercollegiate fourth year modules
-Physics and Astrophysics MSc fourth-year modules
-Plastic and Molecular (Opto)electronics

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.


Astrophysics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, for example information technology, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard a physics degree as flexible and highly desirable university training.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-PhD in Astrophysics, Kiel University, Germany
-Research Assistant, University College London
-Research Assistant, Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (Nuclear Physics)
-PhD in Astrophysics, University of Crete

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for graduate study.

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.

Visit the Astrophysics - MSc/PGDip page on the University College London website for more details!






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