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Physics with Astrophysics

These course handbooks describe the programmes of the 3 year BSc and the 4 year MPhys undergraduate courses in Physics with Astrophysics. If you have queries please contact your personal tutor or the Course Coordinator.


The course provides a broad and flexible education. The department offers the modules that a practising astrophysicist would normally be expected to have studied, so that those who already have in mind a career in research are well catered for. At the same time the flexibility of the course allows students, who want a broader education, to combine the physics modules which interest them most with modules from other disciplines.


The following are our aims for the physics degrees:

  • To provide a stimulating education in physics and astrophysics
  • To provide a learning environment which helps students to achieve their academic potential
  • To help students develop intellectual and transferable skills
  • To leave students well-prepared for the next step in their professional lives


When you graduate, you should

  • Have developed your appreciation and understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and of how these can be applied to explain and predict phenomena particularly those in astrophysics;
  • Have obtained a working knowledge of the mathematical techniques used in physics;
  • Have developed your ability to carry out experimental investigations and to report the results appropriately;
  • Have developed your analytical, problem-solving, self-study, communication and independent working skills. You will also have had opportunities provided by the University and Students' Union to develop organisational, modern language and other skills;
  • Be able, with appropriate supervision, to undertake project work and to communicate the results clearly in writing;
  • Have acquired skills in IT and have had the opportunity through your choice of options and other activities to develop these further.

If you graduate with an MPhys, you should also

  • Be aware of some current research interests in physics and astrophysics;
  • Have a good understanding of a broad range of topics in astrophysics;
  • Be prepared for postgraduate study in physics or astrophysics.

BSc or MPhys

There is a choice between a three year (BSc) and four year (MPhys) variant of the course. The four year course was designed a number of years ago to bridge a gap which had developed between the traditional British three year degree and degrees awarded in other European countries which tended to last four or five years. The three year degree is seen increasingly as part of a general rounded education, which should leave students numerate, articulate and employable. The four year degree should appeal most to those who wish to work as scientists in industry and those who are thinking of a career in research.

The four year degree course covers the main areas of physics and astrophysics. Opting for the four year degree allows students more time to explore the implications of what they have already learnt. This is the idea behind the project and group work in the third and fourth year.

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