University of Hertfordshire

BSc (Hons) Astrophysics

  • On our Astrophysics BSc (Hons) degree you will study the cosmos in all its wonder, gaining a detailed physical understanding of how the Universe works. We put a lot of emphasis on understanding the physical and mathematical principles behind astrophysical phenomena.
  • You will also gain considerable hand-on experience of astronomical observations at our dedicated teaching observatory, beginning your studies there only a few weeks after commencing your degree with us.
  • During your second and third years you will specialise in more advanced Astrophysical topics, including the physics of the solar system and extrasolar planets, cosmology, and star formation and stellar evolution. We also offer a range of options in your final year, including learning how to plan space missions in Space Dynamics and the flight dynamics of rockets in Rocket Performance and Propulsion.
  • You will also carry out a final year investigative project in a cutting-edge area of Astrophysics research. You will be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers in the Centre for Astrophysics Research. Previous projects have included mapping the Orion Nebula with our telescopes at Bayfordbury, studying planetary systems with the Herschel Space Observatory, and modeling high energy jets from galactic nuclei.
  • If you’re continuing on our MPhys programme it’s possible to extend your project into your MPhys year. We also have an innovative strand of industrial projects supported by the Institute of Physics, that give you direct experience of working in industrial research.
  • You could be eligible for a £2,000 scholarship if you achieve a tariff of 120 UCAS points (in one sitting) and are a full-time home student starting your course in September 2022. 

What's the course about?

Astrophysics is the study of the physical processes that shape the structure and evolution of the universe. This course seeks to provide answers to fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of stars, planets and galaxies, as well as the universe itself. 

You’ll have the chance to study the cosmos in all its wonder, and gain a detailed physical understanding of how the universe works. The School’s vibrant research programme feeds into the course content and you’ll make extensive use of our superbly equipped observatory. You’ll also have the exciting opportunity to spend a year at a major astronomical research centre or an international observatory.

Entry Requirements

UCAS pointsA LevelBTECAccess Course TariffIB requirement
120 - 128

BBB - ABB - B in Maths, B in Physics

DDM  -  Applied Science AND A level Maths grade BDiploma with 45 Level 3 credits of which 15 must be in maths at a minimum of Merit120-128 points must include maths and physics at HL grade 4 or above

GCSE: Grade 4/D in English Language and 4/C Mathematics

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.

Career Prospects

Your specialist physics understanding and range of technical and mathematical abilities mean you’ll be well equipped for careers in research or industry, or for postgraduate study. Our graduates find employment in international observatories, research institutions, engineering and financial industries, and teaching.

Course Details

We take pride in our student-focused approach to teaching Astrophysics. With one of the best student-staff ratios in the country we are able to put our focus on you as an individual and give you the support that you need to reach your full potential as an Astrophysics graduate. Our graduates are in a wide range of careers, from scientific research to teaching and industry.

We use a variety of teaching methods during our Astrophysics degrees, ranging from small-group tutorials, to lectures and practical classes.  A key feature is our observatory at Bayfordbury, where we teach you how to carry out astronomical observations in as close to a professional setting as we can make it.  Our typical intake of students is around 50-60 in each year, which means that our class sizes are small enough so that your lecturers will know you by name.  We place particular emphasis on transferable skills, employability and project work throughout the degree.

You will meet your personal tutor on a regular basis in small-group tutorials, which are a great way of reinforcing the material that you learn in lectures. We also offer a wide variety of support throughout your degree, from you lecturers, the School’s Maths Centre and peer support from our student proctor scheme.

Year 1

The physical universe
Mathematical Techniques 1
Special relativity and Quantum physics
Experimental physics
Computational modelling
Small group tutorial (level 4)

Year 2

Mathematical techniques 2
Electromagnetism
Optics and lasers
Thermodynamics
Quantum mechanics
Small group tutorial (level 5)
Career planning and development

Optional modules
Programming 15 credits
Professional teaching skills
Numerical methods
Differential equations
Physics of the solar system
Extra-solar planets
Plasma physics and fusion reactors
Motion and tensors

Year 3

Condensed states of matter
The physics of elementary particles
Astrophysics project and investigative skills
Star formation and evolution
Foundations of cosmology

Optional modules
Rocket performance and propulsion
Professional placement
Space dynamics
Year abroad
Computational physics
Partial differential equations
Further numerical methods
Nonlinear systems
Placement with study abroad
The physics of astronomical spectra
The early universe and galaxy formation
Quantum optics and information theory
Applied optics and photonics
Lagrangian dynamics

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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