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Course Regulations

These are the approved course regulations for the academic year 2022/23.

The programme consists of a core, with further modules taken from options lists. Enough options have to be taken in order to raise the total load to at least 120 CATS credits, which is defined to be the normal load for this course, up to a normal maximum load of 150 CATS. You must choose at least 15 CATS credits from list A.

Core Modules Weeks CATS Credits
PX376 Communicating Science 1-10 15
PX3A1 Astrophysics Project 1-10, 15-24 35
PX3A2 Quantum Physics of Atoms 1-10 10
PX3A6 Galaxies and Cosmology 1-10 15
PX3A9 Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars 15-24 15
Option List A    
PX385 Condensed Matter Physics 6-10, 15-19 15
PX390 Scientific Computing 1-10, 15-19 15
PX399 The Earth and its Atmosphere 1-10 15
PX3A4 Plasma Physics and Fusion 15-24 15
PX3A8 Physics of Life and Medicine 15-24 15

If you are interested in taking a foreign language, please discuss which modules are appropriate with the Language Centre and register via the unusual option route. Note that you are only permitted to take one foreign language module in any one year and in your final year you are not permitted to take a non-accelerated beginners language module.

You may also take modules in List A for the third year of the Physics course F300. These will count towards the List A requirement.


Where options are taken, so that the load exceeds the normal load, the marks for all modules attempted will appear on your University transcript. The overall year mark will be calculated as the arithmetic mean of the subset of whole modules, weighted according to their credit weighting, which satisfies the course regulations and results in the highest mark.

Before contemplating an overload you should discuss it with your personal tutor. We will be monitoring your registrations and you may be asked to discuss the situation with the Director of Studies or the Director of Student Experience. Please note that registering for modules and then not attempting the examination may be considered an abuse of the system and could lead to sanctions.

Important Notice

The modules listed above are the ones that you will normally be permitted to register for. If you wish to take an unusual option you should consult our document on unusual options prior to taking any such modules. You will not be permitted to take more than one language option in any one year. It is our experience that for most students the normal load is the most appropriate load, and only in exceptional circumstances should students take an overload of more than a couple of modules (15 CATS). Before contemplating an overload you should discuss it with your personal tutor. We will be monitoring your registrations and you will be asked to discuss the situation with the director of studies if your load goes above 150 CATS.

You may NOT take as unusual options PX424/PX450 Astrophysics Group Project or PX428/PX451 Astrophysics Laboratory III.

This year's course has been designed with the following aims and objectives


  • To demonstrate how the laws of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and electromagnetism form the basis for explaining phenomena particularly those observed in stars and galaxies
  • To provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and skills in areas such as business and foreign languages
  • To help students develop their transferable skills


On the completion of the third year, you should

  1. Have a good understanding of a broad range of topics in physics and an in depth knowledge of some topics in astrophysics
  2. Be able, with appropriate supervision, to undertake project work in astrophysics
  3. Be well-prepared for the next step in your professional lives, whether this involves further training or moving directly into a career