BSc Astrophysics

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

BSc Astrophysics student using a telescope

This Astrophysics Degree (F510) at Aberystwyth University incorporates the broad disciplines of astronomy that include cosmology and galactic astronomy, the solar system, gas giants and terrestrial worlds, red giants, white dwarfs, neutron stars, and quasars amongst others, allowing you to cover a broad area of learning and enabling you to specialise later in your career. With foundations in the key areas of physics and astronomy you will develop the essential core and transferable skills required by employers in this discipline that include education, business, and industry.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of Physics and Astronomy (NSS 2016)
100% student satisfaction for our Astrophysics degree scheme (NSS 2016)

Department of Physics: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates who graduated from the Department of Physics in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)


The Aberystwyth Astrophysics degree scheme is designed for students who have a general interest in astronomy, who may not want to confine themselves to one particular area. It offers broader modules in cosmology and galactic astronomy, enabling you to keep your options open. You can then specialise later on should you develop an interest in a specific field. 

Why study Astrophysics at Aberystwyth?

Our Physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP), a leading scientific society which engages with policymakers and the general public to advance physics education, research and application, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making it the first university in Wales to teach the subject. Despite our heritage we continue to innovate to ensure that the degree schemes we offer enable you get the best Physics degree you possibly can.

Our lecturers are also researchers working at the cutting edge of their respective fields, so you can be confident that your learning experience will be informed by the latest specialist knowledge along with advanced instrumentation, modelling and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

The Department offers a number of modules through the medium of Welsh. Further details are available from the Department.

Our Staff

Department of Physics Lecturers are all qualified to PhD level and have a track record of research in their fields of specialisation.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (120 Credits) Students must take the following modules. You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MA, MP) module

Semester 1

Calculus MA10610

Classical Dynamics MP14010

Classical Physics PH11010

Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15700

Algebra And Differential Equations PH16210

Astronomy PH18010

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010

Forces Of Nature PH11120

Physics Career Planning And Skills Development PH12910

Modern Physics PH14310

Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15720

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Ffiseg Glasurol FG11010

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15700

Algebra A Hafaliadau Differol FG16210

Calcwlws MT10610

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Semester 2

Grymoedd Natur FG11120

Cynllunio Gyrfa A Datblygu Sgiliau Ffiseg FG12910

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15720

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Year 2 Core (120 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MP) module

Semester 1

Mathematical Physics MP26020

Thermal Physics PH21510

Data Handling And Statistics PH24010

Stars PH24610

The Planets PH28510

Semester 2

Optics PH22010

Electricity And Magnetism PH22510

Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720

Experimental Physics PH25520

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Ffiseg Mathemategol FG26020

Semester 2

Ffiseg Arbrofol FG25520

Year 3 Core (120 Credits) Students must take the following core modules. You may choose a Welsh medium(FG) alternative module(see below) instead of an English(PH) module, and take FG34410 instead of a specialist Astrophysics module subject to approval by the Degree Scheme co-ordinator

Semester 1

Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410

Galaxies PH34610

Numerical Methods PH36010

Project (40 Credits) PH37500

Interior Of The Sun PH38310

The Solar Atmosphere & Heliosphere PH38410

Semester 2

Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710

General Relativity And Cosmology PH34710

Project (40 Credits) PH37540

Space Plasmas PH39710

Year 3 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37500

Semester 2

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37540


Career prospects

A degree in Astrophysics will prepare you for such career destinations as space scientist, physicist, scientific laboratory technician, radiation protection practitioner, and research scientist. Other career paths may include systems developer, product development scientist, technical author, or meteorologist. Further study at postgraduate level will open doors into research, lecturing and teaching.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Astrophysics will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year, you will lay the foundations for your future study by examining the main branches of classical and modern physics, underpinned by the core mathematical disciplines of algebra and calculus. You will be introduced to computational and experimental physics, quantum theory, dynamics, and the basic principles of gravitational and electrostatic fields. You will also be able to choose from a number of optional modules to suit your own interests.

In the second year you will explore the solar interior, stars, planets and planetary atmospheres alongside thermal physics, quantum mechanics, mathematical physics and data handling and statistics.

In the third year you will investigate cosmology, galaxies, space plasmas, the solar atmosphere and the heliosphere alongside condensed matter, atoms and molecules and electromagnetism. You will also undertake a special project of your own choosing under the guidance of your personal project supervisor.

You may also choose to undertake a career planning module as part of your course, which will enhance your employability prospects and enable you to develop valuable transferable skills.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, seminars and tutorials to workshops, practicals and individual and group-based project work. A strong emphasis is placed on project work which is linked to active research interests.

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, essays, presentations, multiple choice tests, lab reports, lab diaries and examinations.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

I love Astrophysics because the universe is a wondrous feat of reality, arising from the physical law of nature. A complex mixture of energy, mass, gravity, electric and magnetic fields gives rise to life and to the beautiful galaxies that we see in the night sky. Who wouldn't want to study that? Learning about the big picture of the universe instead of being confined to trivial problems in everyday life is character-building and a worthwhile venture. Geoffrey Knott

Key Information Set

Places available in Clearing

0800 121 40 80 (Freephone)

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Key Facts

UCAS Code: F510

Please note that the tariff below may not apply during Clearing. Contact us on 0800 121 40 80 or fill in the form above for more information.

Tariff Required: 280

Entry Requirements: Grade B in A level Mathematics and grade B in A level Physics. GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh. Grade C in Mathematics.

Course Length: 3 Years

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