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Course Regulations

The programme consists of a core of 5 lectured modules, the astrophysics laboratory and group project with further modules taken from the options list. 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. The maximum permitted load is 150 CATS. You must choose modules worth at least 15.5 CATS from the Options List.

This page is indicative. Full details of the modules being prepared specifically for this course will appear once finalised.

Core Modules Weeks CATS Credit
PX382 Quantum Physics of Atoms 1-5 7.5
PX384 Electrodynamics 1-5 7.5
PX3xx Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars 15-24 15
PX3yy Galaxies and Cosmology 6-10, 15-19 15
PX392 Plasma Electrodynamics 6-10 7.5
PX440 Mathematical Methods for Physicists III 1-5 7.5
PX4ax Astrophysics Group Project 15-24 15
PX4ay Astrophysics Laboratory III 1-10 15
Option List    
PX308 Physics in Medicine 6-10 7.5
PX350 The Weather and the Environment 1-5 7.5
PX385 Condensed Matter Physics 6-10, 15-19 15
PX390 Scientific Computing 1-10, 15-19 15
PX396 Nuclear Physics 15-19 7.5
MA3D1 Fluid Dynamics 15-24 15


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.


Please read the rules concerning progression to the fourth year.

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. 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 either: PX319 Physics Project or PX376 Communicating Science.

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


  • To continue the study of astrophysics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory and experimental astrophysics
  • To demonstrate how the principles of physics form the basis for explaining phenomena observed in plasmas and stars
  • To develop students' transferable skills including group working


On the completion of the third year you should have a sound knowledge of physics and astrophysics and be well prepared for the final year courses