University of Hertfordshire

MPhys (Hons) Astrophysics

The MPhys programme allows students to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than our BSc programme. An MPhys is particularly recommended for those students interested in pursuing research in the industrial, government and academic sectors, and who are likely to consider undertaking further postgraduate study (MSc and/or PhD degrees).

  • The MPhys programme allows students to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than our BSc programme.
  • In the MPhys year you will study more advanced courses in a range of Astrophysics and Physics specialisms (including Galaxy Formation & Evolution, High Energy Astrophysics, and Atmospheric Physics), plus undertake a large research project within the Centre for Astrophysics Research.
  • Your research project will form a third of your final year and you will be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers while you work on a cutting-edge problem in modern Astrophysics. Previous projects include developing Lucky Imaging cameras at our observatory, studying extreme variable stars in the Milky Way, studying observations of powerful Active Galactic Nuclei, and designing new space telescopes to study extrasolar planet atmospheres. We 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. Full eligibility criteria and further details.

What's the course about?

The MPhys allows you to study astrophysics to a greater depth and breadth than the BSc. It’s particularly recommended if you’re interested in pursuing research in industry, government or academia, or if you want to go on to further postgraduate study. During the course you’ll study more advanced topics such as galaxy formation and evolution, high-energy astrophysics and atmospheric physics. You’ll also undertake a large research project within our Centre for Astrophysics Research. We have an innovative strand of industrial projects, supported by the Institute of Physics, that gives you direct experience of working in industrial research. 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
128 - 136

ABB - AAB - B in Maths, B in Physics

DDM - DDD -  Applied Science AND A level Maths grade BDiploma with 45 Level 3 credits of which 15 must be in maths at a minimum of Merit128-136 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 in-depth, specialist physics understanding and range of technical and mathematical skills mean you’ll be well placed for a career in industrial or scientific research. Alternatively, you could stay in academia on a PhD programme, the number one destination for our graduates. Our graduates also 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.

Extracurricular activities

During your time with us we want you to have the widest opportunities possible to achieve your full potential.  So, alongside your studies, we also organise many optional extracurricular activities to help you gain professional Physics experience. We run regular summer placements and internships in our research laboratories, and make our facilities at the Bayfordbury Observatory open to you (once you have passed an accreditation course). Also, as a member of the South East Physics Network (SEPNet), our students have the possibility for summer internships with any of our 8 SEPNet partners.

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

Optional modules
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

Year 4

Astrophysics research project
Statistics and analysis

Optional modules
CFD techniques
Aerospace aerodynamics
MRI science and principles
CT science and principles
High energy astrophysics
Relativity and field theory
Galaxy structure and evolution
General relativity
Quantum field theory
Nature of the climate system

*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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