The MPhys Astrophysics Degree (F511) 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 degree. 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.
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 MPhys Astrophysics degree scheme is a four-year course 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.
Department of Physics Lecturers are all qualified to PhD level and have a track record of research in their fields of specialisation.
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 take the following modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PA, MA, MP) module
Classical Dynamics MP14010
Classical Physics PH11010
Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15700
Algebra And Differential Equations PH16210
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
Ffiseg Glasurol FG11010
Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15700
Algebra A Hafaliadau Differol FG16210
Dynameg Glasurol MT14010
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
Mathematical Physics MP26020
Thermal Physics PH21510
Data Handling And Statistics PH24010
The Planets PH28510
Electricity And Magnetism PH22510
Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720
Experimental Physics PH25520
Year 3 Core (120 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module(see bleow) instead of an English (PH) module, and take FG34410 instead of a specialist Astrophysics module subject to approval by the Degree Scheme co-ordinator
Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410
Numerical Methods PH36010
Project (40 Credits) PH37500
Interior Of The Sun PH38310
The Solar Atmosphere & Heliosphere PH38410
Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710
General Relativity And Cosmology PH34710
Project (40 Credits) PH37540
Space Plasmas PH39710
Year 4 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) module
Electromagnetic Theory PHM2510
Quantum Technology PHM3010
Communicating Topics In Physics PHM4410
Major Project PHM5800
Advanced Numerical Methods PHM6610
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.
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 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.
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.
In the fourth year you will study electromagnetic theory, quantum technology, advanced topics in modern physics and advanced numerical methods. You will also undertake an extended project which will normally relate to one of the research groups in the department under the supervision of the project supervisor. An intensive residential course, which includes sessions on planning a project, communication and self-management skills and structured group work on presenting and assessing projects forms part of the extended project.
You may also 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 the active research interests of staff in the department.
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.
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
A Levels BBB with B in Physics and B in Mathematics
GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics
BTEC National Diploma:
DMM-DDM with specified subject and B in A level Mathematics
28 points overall with 5 points in Physics and 5 points in Mathematics at Higher Level
Pass overall with 60% in Physics and 60% in Mathematics