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Master's Excellence ScholarshipsMinimum of £3,000 in tuition fee discounts available.

Astrophysics (MSc)

1 year (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The MSc in Astrophysics is a brand-new and innovative taught master's degree programme with advanced teaching delivered by world-leading expert astrophysicists.

image of galaxies and stars

Course Aims

The MSc in Astrophysics provides comprehensive general, transferable and specialist skills training and hands-on experience to enable a student to pursue a career in further postgraduate astrophysics research, physical science industrial practice, research and development, or other highly-skilled numerate careers.

Candidates holding an MSc in Astrophysics stand out in these highly competitive recruitment markets.

Special Features

Course Description

The MSc in Astrophysics is a highly configurable course that allows the student a great deal of flexibility in configuring their individual learning experience. Throughout the course, the student will attend core modules which provide training in essential skills and advanced techniques, together with a comprehensive package of transferable skills training.

MSc students are introduced to active research laboratories during the autumn term and are thereby integrated into the School of Physics and Astronomy community from day one. The MSc cohort will meet regularly as a group to discuss research topics, present papers and tackle group exercises and undergo advanced practical skills training.

The research-led elective modules cover a wide variety of topics aligned with the expertise of our research groups. The MSc in Astrophysics can accommodate students wishing to pursue a very specialised or more broadly-based programme depending on their individual needs and intended career path. Support and advice are always available from our expert staff.

Students who successfully complete the taught portion of the course in the autumn and spring terms will be offered the opportunity to undertake a 4 month research project, which can be located either internal to the School of Physics and Astronomy with one of our own research groups, or externally in placement with one of our industrial partners.


an infrared view of our nearest galaxy taken with the Herschel Space Observatory
An infrared view of our nearest galaxy taken with the Herschel Space Observatory, built in part by academics at Cardiff University School of Physics and Astronomy. Orange represents infrared light from cosmic dust, while blue shows hot X-rays from dead stars. Credit: ESA/Herschel/SPIRE/PACS/HELGA ; ESA/XMM/EPIC/OM.

Course Structure

The MSc in Astrophysics is a highly configurable course that allows the student a great deal of flexibility in configuring their individual learning experience. Throughout the course, the student will attend core modules which provide training in essential skills and advanced techniques, together with a comprehensive package of transferable skills training.

MSc students are introduced to active research laboratories during the autumn term and are thereby integrated into the School of Physics and Astronomy community from day one. The MSc cohort will meet regularly as a group to discuss research topics, present papers and tackle group exercises and undergo advanced practical skills training.

The research-led elective modules cover a wide variety of topics aligned with the expertise of our research groups. The MSc in Astrophysics can accommodate students wishing to pursue a very specialised or more broadly-based programme depending on their individual needs and intended career path. Support and advice are always available from our expert staff.

Students who successfully complete the taught portion of the course in the autumn and spring terms will be offered the opportunity to undertake a 4 month research project, which can be located either internal to the School of Physics and Astronomy with one of our own research groups, or externally in placement with one of our industrial partners.

Core Modules

Autumn Semester Core Modules:

  • PXT201 Techniques in Astrophysics (20 credits)
  • PX4128 Data Analysis (10 credits)

Spring Semester Core Modules:

  • PXT202 Study and Research Skills in Astrophysics (20 credits)
  • PXT206 Astrophysics Research Project (60 credits, undertaken during the summer)

Elective Modules (Autumn Semester)

Please select 3 from the following indicative list:

  • PX4124 Introduction to General Relativity (10 credits, autumn)
  • PX4125 Astronomy Instrumentation (10 credits, autumn)
  • PX3143 Computational Physics (10 credits, autumn)*
  • PX3145 Formation and Evolution of Start (10 credits, autumn)*
  • PX3146 Cosmology (10 credits, autumn)*

* Asterisked courses are Level 6 courses. Please note that of the 120 taught credits, a maximum of 30 credits can come from Level 6 courses.

 

Elective Modules (Spring term)

Please select 4 from the following indicative list:

  • PX4223 Physics of the Early Universe (10 credits, spring)
  • PX4224 Advanced General Relativity and Gravitational Waves (10 credits, spring)
  • PX4229 ISM and Star Formation (10 credits, spring)
  • PX4230 Physics and Reality (10 credits, spring)
  • PX3244 Extragalactic Astrophysics (10 credits, spring)*
  • PX3245 High Energy Astrophysics (10 credits, spring)*
  • PX3248 Theoretical Physics (10 credits, spring)*

* Asterisked courses are Level 6 courses. Please note that of the 120 taught credits, a maximum of 30 credits can come from Level 6 courses.

 

Career Prospects

A master's degree in astrophysics opens the door to a wide variety of possible future careers. The flexibility in selecting elective modules allows each student to optimise their learning towards their chosen future career. Our graduates have successfully entered the fields of photonics, biophysics, instrumentation research and development, semiconductor physics both within academic science and industrial practice.

Our strong established links with industrial partners enables us to offer summer project placements within cutting-edge industrial environment. Our researchers are world leaders in their fields and so the experience gained in our internal academic project placements is of immense value for students seeking to continue in academic research.

Together with the innovative core skills modules which from the very beginning immerse students in the research environment, the MSc in astrophysics is the ideal course for students looking to distinguish themselves in today's highly competitive technical job market.

Student Views

Picture of Alexander

'The lecturers are forefront researchers in their area at a university with an extremely strong research groups in the physical and biological sciences. Not only are they experts in their fields, but also friendly and eager to help.'

Alexander, MSc Biophotonics, 2014-15

Read Alexander's full testimonial

For a physicist with a deep interest in the biological sciences, the MSc in Biophotonics is the perfect taught postgraduate programme. After studying genomics for a year and completing an undergraduate programme in physics with heavy specialisation in optics, I looked at postgraduate courses across Europe and North America, and this one stood out as being exactly what I was looking for.

It is one thing to understand optics and biology separately and entirely another thing to understand biophotonics. While the first part of this programme is designed to bring both physicists and biologists up to speed in both areas and in the mathematics necessary for the study of physical phenomena, the second part shows the incredible complexity that results from putting the two disciplines together. Students are taught about bioimaging and spectroscopy, medical applications of light, and optical manipulation of biological materials, among other things. The topics are stimulating and vastly interesting. There is no shortage of options when deciding what to do next; there are many areas of possible specialisation in biophotonics, and graduate students can choose to pursue a career in academia, research and development in industry, or perhaps a little bit of both.

The lecturers are forefront researchers in their area at a university with an extremely strong research groups in the physical and biological sciences. Just talking to them and visiting their offices or labs is a great learning experience; being taught by them and then working with some of them (if one is, like me, inclined towards an academic career) is the best thing one could hope for. Not only are they experts in their fields, but also friendly and eager to help. Science, especially in an area this complex, can become overwhelming at times, but help is always available.

The MSc in Biophotonics at Cardiff University is not an easy course, but it is definitely a worthwhile one. It is an honour and a privilege to be able to learn from the best.

Alexander, MSc Biophotonics, 2014-15

Alumni Perspective

Picture of Zoe

'The skills and knowledge gained in this course has allowed me to progress and achieve a job as a Graduate Process Design Engineer.'

Zoe, MSc Biophotonics, 2011-12

Read Zoe's full testimonial

I completely enjoyed my time on the MSc Biophotonics course, even though the physics aspect is a bit daunting to a biologist, there is a massive amount of help available to you.

The most interesting part of the course is the applicability to medicine, using light as detection methods and alternative treatments for disease. The practicals are very interesting and help to further understand the taught aspect of the course. The first half of the course is the foundation to the rest of the course; which allows you to progress to a very varied choice in the dissertation summer project, which this year included a fantastic opportunity to go into industry and work for a worldwide company GE Healthcare.

The skills and knowledge gained in this course has allowed me to progress and achieve a job as a Graduate Process Design Engineer.

Zoe, MSc Biophotonics, 2011-12

Funding

A partial Scholarship/Bursary is available for students on this programme and on the Astrophysics (MSc) programme. For more information please click here.

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for physicists, mathematicians and engineers. Applications from students in related subjects are also welcomed.

Applicants should possess a minimum of a second class honours degree or equivalent in a physical, mathematical or engineering science. Please contact the admissions tutor in the event of any query.

Supporting materials required: Two academic references and copies of full transcripts.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (eg 6.5 IELTS).

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Admissions Process

Applications can be submitted through the University's Online Application System.


Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £7,750 £18,250
Part-time n/a n/a
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.
Notes

Next intake: October each year

School Contact

Name: Nicola Hunt (MSc Astrophysics)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6457 

Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74056 

Email: mscphysics@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: http://www.astro.cardiff.ac.uk/

School Contact

Name: Dr. Richard Lewis  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5433 

Fax:  

Email: LewisR54@cardiff.ac.uk  

School Website: http://www.astro.cardiff.ac.uk/

More information

Important legal information

The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by July 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

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