MPhys Space Science and Robotics

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

Aberystwyth Experimental Planetary Rover

In choosing to study this MPhys Space Science and Robotics Masters Degree you'll be immersed in both the fundamentals of computer science and the very latest technological innovations. The structure of the programme in Space Science and Robotics Masters Degree allows you to develop the skills needed to solve complex problems that include analysis, design, solution choice and implementation. You'll develop skills and capabilities sought by the main employers in this discipline and you'll graduate with the competences necessary to undertake the career you choose. Click and expand the links below to find out more...


Unmanned exploration of the solar system has been one of the outstanding successes of the space age. Most of these spacecraft, orbiters, landers and rovers have been either fully command-controlled from the Earth or have been controlled by on-board programs. Future missions, and particularly rovers landing on Mars and more distant planets and moons, will require an ability to act independently of command-control and adapt their behaviour to their surroundings.

This Space Science and Robotics degree course combines the expertise in solar system and space physics of Aberystwyth’s Institute of Mathematics and Physics (IMAPS) with the space robotics and artificial intelligence expertise of the Department of Computer Science, to consider the challenges to be met in robotic exploration of the solar system and their solutions.

Why study MPhys Space Science and Robotics at Aberystwyth?

Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making the university the first in Wales to teach the subject. Over the last 140 years we’ve been perfecting the degree schemes we offer you to ensure that 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 Assessment Exercise (2014) 95% of research submitted by the university was rated as being internationally recognised. Our students rated this course very highly in the latest National Student Survey, with 89% expressing overall satisfaction.

95% of our 2014 Computer Science graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 7 percentage point increase on the previous year. 92% were in professional work or graduate level education, compared with a UK average of 70% (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show overall satisfaction rates, at 86% with the quality of the teaching they received and their access to IT resources, four percentage points higher than the UK average for the subject.

The Department also offers a number of modules taught entirely or partially through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the Department.

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 (40 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Introduction To Computer Infrastructure CS10220

Astronomy PH18010

Semester 2

Modern Physics PH14310

Year 1 Options You must take one of the following modules

Semester 1

Cyflwyniad I Raglennu CC12020

Introduction To Programming CS12020

Year 1 Options You must take one of the following modules

Semester 1

Classical Dynamics MP14010

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Year 1 Options You must take one of the following modules

Semester 2

Ffiseg Labordy FG15510

Laboratory Physics PH15510

Year 1 Options You must take one of the following modules

Semester 2

Rhaglennu Gan Ddefnyddio Iaith Gwrthrych-gyfeiriadol CC12320

Programming Using An Object-oriented Language CS12320

Year 1 Options You must take one of the following modules

Semester 2

Grymoedd Natur FG11120

Forces Of Nature PH11120

Year 2 Core (120 Credits) Students must take the following modules

Semester 1

C And C++ And Environments CS23820

Scientific Python CS24400

Instrumentation Systems PH24520

The Planets PH28510

Semester 2

Scientific Python CS24420

Robotics And Embedded Systems CS26020

Optics PH22010

Experimental Physics PH25520

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 2

Ffiseg Arbrofol FG25520

Year 3 Core (70 Credits) Students must take the following modules

Semester 1

Ubiquitous Computing CS35710

Space Robotics CS36510

Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410

Numerical Methods PH36010

Planetary Neutral Atmospheres PH38510

Semester 2

Semiconductor Technology PH33610

Ionospheres & Magnetospheres PH39510

Year 3 Options Students must take one of the following modules

Semester 2

Prosiect Hir CC39440

Major Project CS39440

Year 3 Options Students take a 10 credit option as advised by the Computer Science Department

Semester 1

Agile Methodologies CS31310

Advanced Computer Graphics CS32310

Computer Vision CS34110

Machine Learning CS36110

Year 4 Core (120 Credits) Students must take the following modules

Semester 1

Major Project PHM5800

Internet Technologies SEM5720

Fundamentals Of Intelligent Systems SEM6120

Semester 2

Major Project PHM5860

Advanced Research Topics PHM7020

Year 4 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Prif Brosiect FGM5800

Semester 2

Prif Brosiect FGM5860


Career Prospects

This degree scheme perfectly equips graduates with the necessary skills for careers in the space industry. Several of our graduates have gone on to specialise in space robotics or a related field of astrophysics or robotics. However, our students also develop transferable skills, such as problem-solving, working with technology, communication skills and teamwork, that are highly valued by employers in a wide range of fields. Other potential careers that graduates of this degree scheme could enter include software development, computer programming, systems development, engineering or teaching. Many students who take the MPhys course go on to study at PhD level and pursue a research career. Both the Physics and Computer Science departments have lively communities of PhD students working on a variety of different projects.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Space Science and Robotics 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
• the facility to deal with abstract concepts
• 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.

Personal Development Plan

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.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

You will divide your time equally between the Physics department and the Computer Science department. The course will be taught through a mixture of lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, laboratory sessions, computer practicals and example classes, in which you work through problems under the supervision of a lecturer. This wide variety of teaching methods is appropriate to the mixture of theoretical knowledge and practical skills that you will develop through studying the course. The assessment methods also reflect this mixture of theoretical and practical knowledge, and will include exams and in-class tests, assessed experiments, lab reports, essays, software development tasks, oral presentations and poster presentations. In your third year you will undertake a Major Project, based in the Computer Science department, that will typically involve the development of a robot to fulfil a particular need and a written report to explain the process and the decisions you made. This project is a substantial piece of work that allows you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice and can be used to demonstrate your abilities to potential employers.

Students who enrol on the MPhys course can choose to transfer to the BSc after their second year if they decide that the three-year course is more appropriate to their career aims. If you decide to continue on to the fourth year you will study Masters-level modules on topics including artificial intelligence and ubiquitous computing. In the second semester you will carry out an extended project, based in the Physics department and typically exploring an aspect of solar system physics.

Through studying this course you will develop your knowledge of a range of relevant themes in Physics and Computer Science including astronomy, classical and modern physics, programming languages, artificial intelligence and algorithms. You will learn practical skills such as robotics, programming and software development. You will learn to design and carry out experiments and analyse data. You will learn to carry out independent research and to disseminate your findings through oral and written reports. You will develop transferable skills including problem-solving, teamwork, communication skills and I.T. skills.

Your personal tutor

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.

Student Views

I have found my course truly interesting and very rewarding. Undertaking an industrial year has boosted my practical programming skills tenfold, if not more. The lecturers are professional and helpful and the course provides a wide variety of subject knowledge. The first year of the course is a very nice, manageable introduction to the field of computer science. As a student who had no previous experience in the field I was rather tentative when first coming to University, but within a few weeks I had hit the ground running with the implementation of a challenging, yet rewarding project. Daniel William James Drave

Key Information Set

Key Facts


Tariff Required: 300

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

Course Length: 4 Years

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