University of Hertfordshire - BSc (Hons) Astrophysics with Space Science

University of Hertfordshire

BSc (Hons) Astrophysics with Space Science

Why choose this course?

Combine your interests in astrophysics and spaceflight

You are fascinated by the science that underlies our current understanding of the universe, and you are excited by the exploration of space within our solar system using spacecraft. You want to develop your skills in physics, maths, computing and practical work and understand how modern technology is enabling us to probe further into the universe - using telescopes based on the Earth and in space - and travel to more distant worlds using robotic spacecraft. You are interested in the role that the space industry can play in saving and protecting our planet.

We offer a broad and exciting curriculum which covers topics from planetary science to space systems, cosmology to rocket science. Our hands-on approach to the application of the physical and space sciences will spark your imagination. You’ll become creative and be able to solve real-world problems based on research-informed knowledge.

You don’t want to choose between your two favourite subjects. By studying astrophysics with space science at Herts, you’ll have the best of both worlds.

Benefit from our links to the space industry

At the University of Hertfordshire, you’ll benefit from national and international links to the space industry. We have strong links to leading space industry experts, including: Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) in Cornwall, Airbus Defence and Space (in nearby Stevenage), the UK Space Agency and NASA, together with the rapidly growing number of Earth observation and satellite companies. You’ll even have the opportunity to undertake a week-long field trip to GES to gain hands-on experience with its deep space communication facilities, and training mission operations.

Herts and Hatfield have a proud history in space science and innovation. The pioneering Blue Streak rocket was built in Hatfield and the mathematics department has been involved in ground-breaking work on the optimisation of spacecraft trajectories. The University continues to build excellent industry links and forge progress in international space exploration and research.

You’ll benefit from access to one of the best astronomical teaching observatories in the UK – Bayfordbury Observatory. The Observatory, which hosts a suite of space science instrumentation, will enable you to observe and measure stars and planets, and track satellites as part of your own research and project work. Our team of expert researchers and academics will be with you every step of the way. With lots of opportunities to master practical skills and theory, you’ll step into your future career with confidence.

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. Full eligibility criteria and further details.

What's the course about?

Astrophysics is the study of the physical processes that shape the structure and evolution of our universe. This study takes place on many scales, from extrasolar planets to supermassive black holes – both areas currently under research at the University of Hertfordshire. Space Science is the application of physics and engineering to the space environment of the Earth, and to spacecraft systems and dynamics. The development of ingenious instrumentation which is able to push measurements to their physical limits is important to both astrophysics and space science.

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



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

This course will prepare you for an exciting career in the space industry. Due to increasing investment and technological advances, the industry, both in the UK and abroad, is set to expand exponentially. There are therefore a growing number of job opportunities for technologically driven and trained graduates with the capabilities to work within, and manage, projects to aid the peaceful exploration of space.

Graduates within the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics have gone onto careers across the space industry, including roles as space engineers, research scientists and science communicators working for facilities such as the Royal Greenwich Observatory or the European Space Agency.

The course can also lead to many career pathways where analytical skills are highly desired, including: finance, accounting, commerce, teaching and telecommunications.

If you want to expand your knowledge and specialise further, this course will prepare you for postgraduate education in space science or space technology.

Course Details

Our course offers a unique blend of core physics and astrophysics alongside the specialised area of space science. While based in the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, you’ll also benefit from opportunities to take modules from the Department of Engineering, including Space Systems and Rocket Propulsion and Performance, and Satellite Communications.

At Herts, we offer a range of teaching methods so you can reach your full potential. From small-group tutorials, to lectures, practical classes and guest speakers from industry, you’ll be inspired and supported every step of the way. You’ll also have access to Bayfordbury Observatory where you’ll carry out astronomical observations in a professional setting.

We offer a problem-based learning approach. Be inspired by our hands-on/practical approach to teaching. You’ll have the chance to work in teams to design a space science mission. You’ll then deliver your findings in a competitive tender presentation to justify your proposal.

Not only will you showcase your theoretical knowledge, but you’ll gain confidence as an expert problem-solver through creativity and logic. For example, a workbook that you create in the module Space Dynamics is a detailed record of your investigation of the orbital and spin dynamics of spacecraft. Although a form of assessment, many graduates have used the workbook during job interviews to highlight their skills and capabilities.

In your first year, you’ll develop a solid broad foundation in physics, astrophysics and scientific mathematics, alongside training in laboratory and observatory techniques. The emphasis is on closely supporting your studies through regular academic meetings with a personal tutor in small groups. The class sizes mean that you will quickly get to know your peers and work together, sometimes in study groups that you form yourselves. A valued feature of the course is the easy and informal access you have to staff teaching on the modules.

In your second year, you’ll begin start to specialise in more advanced areas of astrophysics and space science, including modules in Space Science and Systems and advanced core curriculum in electromagnetism and optical physics. Astrophysics modules focus on the planetary scale of real interest to space scientists - Physics of the Solar System and Extra-Solar Planets.

In your third year, you will study topics such as nuclear and particle physics and star formation. You’ll also undertake an in-depth investigative project. Throughout the project, you’ll be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers in the Centre for Astrophysics. Previous projects have included mapping the Orion Nebula with our telescopes at Bayfordbury Observatory, studying planetary systems with the Herschel Space Observatory, and modelling high energy jets from galactic nuclei. You will study the performance and propulsion of rockets and study spacecraft dynamics in an innovative computer-based environment.

If you decide to continue your studies onto our MPhys course, you do a research-level project as half of the fourth-year schedule. You will also do an advanced module on the space systems approach to mission planning.

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
Optics and lasers
Quantum mechanics
Small group tutorial (level 5)
Career planning and development
Space science and systems

Optional modules
Physics of the solar system
Extra-solar planets

*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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