Space Science and Robotics

Key Facts

Code FH56
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC with B in Mathematics and B in Physics or Computer Science

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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In choosing to study this Space Science and Robotics Degree you'll be immersed in both the fundamentals of computer science and the very latest technological innovations. The structure of this degree in Space Science and Robotics 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.

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)

Department of Computer Science: 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

93% of undergraduates from the Department of Computer Science who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Student Views


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 to 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 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. 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.

Our Staff

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

Almost all of the Department of Computer Science Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are qualified to PhD level, and those who are not have considerable research or industrial experience. All new Lecturers and Teaching Fellows are required to obtain the PGCTHE, and hence are Senior Fellows or Fellows of the Higher Education Academy. The department also employs a number of part time demonstrators and tutors and some student demonstrators, who are selected from our undergraduate and postgraduate students. Research fellows and research assistants (mostly PhD qualified) may also be involved in delivering occasional teaching when it is appropriate.

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


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. For those who are interested in progressing to postgraduate study there are several courses that may be of interest. Space Science and Robotics can be taken to MPHYS level, or, alternatively there are MSc courses available in Intelligent Systems or Intelligent Autonomous Systems in the Computer Science department or the MSc in Solar System Physics in the Physics department. Both departments have lively communities of PhD students.

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 of Space Science and Robotics can either take the three-year BSc course or transfer to the four-year MPhys course to gain a more in-depth understanding of the subject.

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 develop transferable skills including problem-solving, teamwork, written and oral 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

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC with B in Mathematics and B in Physics or Computer Science

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM with specified subjects

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
28 points overall with 5 points in Mathematics and 5 points in Physics or Computer Science at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75% overall with 60% in Mathematics and 60% in Physics or Computer Science

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